Himachal cricket body row: Court reserves order


By : Mohan Verma

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on a petition filed by the state cricket body to implead Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and three government officials in the ongoing row between it and the government.

A division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan passed the orders after hearing the arguments of BJP MP Anurag Thakur.

The HPCA has challenged the government decision of October 26, 2013, to cancel the land leases granted to the HPCA.

The High Court had earlier decided the matter by dismissing the HPCA’s application to implead the chief minister and others and partially allowing the amendment of writ petition.

At this, the HPCA had moved to the Supreme Court, which remanded the matter back to the High Court for deciding it afresh.

A division bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice J. Chelameswar on March 14 set aside the High Court’s January 8 orders, rejecting as “misconceived” the application of the HPCA to implead them in the case.

The HPCA alleged that the entire government machinery under the influence of the chief minister forcibly evicted the HPCA from its stadia, including picturesque one in Dharamshala.

The government, however, said its decision to cancel the lease and to take control over the HPCA’s properties was withdrawn by it on November 18 last year, and on account of this development, most of the prayers in the writ petition have become infructuous.

The government also submitted that the chief minister and others, including Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar, were not necessarily parties as they were not concerned with the matter in their personal capacities.

Earlier, the high court had indicted the government for forcible eviction of the HPCA from its stadiums and ordered restoration of possession to it.

The state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau in August last year filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA over alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land to the sports body for constructing a residential complex for players near its stadium in Dharamshala.

Former state chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur were formally charged in a trial court in Dharamsala on April 25 with alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land.

The filing of the chargesheet came barely hours after the high court dismissed the HPCA’s petition seeking quashing of a First Information Report (FIR) against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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