Anurag Thakur is © IANS
Anurag Thakur is the HPCA chief © IANS

Dharamsala: Nov 7, 2014

A trial court today issued summons to Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chief and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur and six others in connection with a case filed against the cricket body charging it with felling a large number of pine trees during construction of a luxury hotel for players here.

Special Public Prosecutor said,”The Court of Special Judge Davinder Kumar issued summons against the seven accused in a case of illegally axing hundreds of trees during construction of a five-star Hotel in Kandi village near Dharamsala town.”

Beside Anurag, summons were issued against HPCA honorary secretary Vishal Marwah, spokespersons Sanjay Sharma, Bidhi Chand, the then range officer of the forest department, field Kanungo Kuldeep Kumar, Tesildar Jagdish Ram and Patwari, Jagat Raj.

The vigilance bureau on November 29, 2013 had booked Thakur, the two office- bearers of HPCA, forest and revenue officials under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 447 (criminal trespass), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

After a yearlong probe, the bureau filed a charge sheet on September 6 against HPCA for illegally axing a large number of pine trees on the leased land for construction of the players residence, ‘The Pavilion’, which was later turned into a hotel. This land was allotted by BJP government in 2009, when Anuraag’s father, Prem Kumar Dhumal, was the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.

The probe agency has also charged the forest and revenue officials, named in the charge sheet, for conniving with HPCA and giving wrong information in the no-objection certificate (NOC) given to HPCA. Forest officials in the NOC had stated that there are no trees on the patch of the land allotted to HPCA. However, the vigilance inquiry established that even now, there are 2,023 trees standing at the leased land.