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Shimla: June 4, 2014
In a setback to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), the state high court Wednesday once again rejected an application of the cricket body, led by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, to implead Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in a land allotment dispute case.
Pronouncing the order, reserved May 14, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan observed, “The applications for impleadment of the respondents [including Virbhadra Singh] stand dismissed. Nothing is forthcoming from the writ petition or from the applications, in hand, as to how the proposed respondents have acted with malafide or bias,” observed the high court.
The court, however, partially allowed the writ petitioners to file an amended petition within a week and listed the matter for next hearing June 18. The HPCA had challenged the government’s decision of Oct 26 last year to cancel the land lease granted to the cricket body in Dharamsala for constructing a players’ residential complex.
The high court had earlier dismissed the HPCA’s plea seeking prosecution of the chief minister and others. At this, the HPCA had moved 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 March 14 set aside the high court’s Jan 8 order 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 one in Dharamsala.
The government, however, said its decision to cancel the lease and to take control of the HPCA’s properties was withdrawn by it Nov 19 and on account of this development, most of the prayers in the writ petition have become infructuous. Moreover, the government 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 stadia 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 HPCA over alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land to the sports body for the construction of the residential complex for players near its stadium in Dharamsala.
Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur were formally charged in a trial court in Dharamsala April 25 with alleged wrongdoing in allotment of the land. The filing of the charge sheet came 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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