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HPCA land allotment case: Congress gets approval to prosecute BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal

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BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal denied the allegations over the HPCA land deal © Getty Images (Representational Photo)

Shimla: Apr 2, 2014 

In a setback to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress government got sanction to initiate proceedings against opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal for alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land to the state cricket body led by his son.

The state got permission from Governor Urmila Singh to prosecute Dhumal, an official said.

The BJP leader, however, denied any wrongdoing in the allotment of land to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) when he was chief minister.

The state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau last week sought the nod to prosecute two BJP leaders — two-time chief minister Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur, an MP from Hamirpur and HPCA president.

However, sanction to prosecute Thakur, the joint secretary in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is yet to be sought, said the official, who didn’t wish to be identified.

Eighteen people have been named in the vigilance charge sheet while five were named accused in getting the land allotted for constructing a players’ residential complex near the stadium in Dharamsala, some 250 km from Simla.

The accused are Dhumal, Thakur, additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan, deputy commissioner Ajay Sharma and additional deputy commissioner Gopal Chand.

Sanan and Chand were posted in the revenue department when the land was allotted to the HPCA, while Sharma was the state Youth Services and Sports director.

At that time, R.S. Gupta, whose name is also included in the charge sheet, was posted in Dharamsala where the disputed land is located.

Official sources said the state has approached the central government to prosecute bureaucrats Sanan and Sharma.

Dhumal, who is HPCA’s patron-in-chief, told reporters, “It’s being done on political grounds.”

The vigilance bureau in August last year filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA.

“The land allotted to the HPCA was the common village land which could not be given for any commercial activity. There is a violation of land laws,” said a revenue official.

The Congress, then in the opposition had objected to the land allotment.

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