DHARAMSALA STADIUM ROW: A CORRUPTION CASE WAS FILED AGAINST ANURAG AND OTHERS IN 2014 IN THE COURT OF SPECIAL JUDGE OF KANGRA
The Supreme Court today stayed criminal proceedings against Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president Anurag Thakur in a case of alleged corruption in the management of the cricket stadium at Dharamsala.
A Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant also issued notice to the Himachal Government, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and top police officials of the Vigilance Department on an appeal filed by the HPCA and Thakur.
The Bench directed the government and other respondents to file their reply within eight weeks to the petitioners’ plea for quashing the case against them.
The apex court stayed “further proceedings” in the corruption case No. 8 filed against Thakur and others in 2014 in the court of special judge of Kangra. The HPCA and Anurag have filed the appeal challenging the High Court’s April 25, 2014, judgment rejecting their plea for quashing the proceedings.Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate PS Patwalia said the corruption case against Anurag was politically motivated and had no legal basis as the government itself had withdrawn the cancellation of land allotment made to the HPCA for the construction of the stadium.
The CM had given four interviews to the media, stating that Anurag and other HPCA officials would go “scot-free” in the corruption case if the stadium was handed over to the government. This showed that the case had political overtones, Patwalia pleaded.In a related case, the SC had also acknowledged that the controversy over the stadium was nothing, but political, he contended.Patwalia argued that the allotted land, the stadium and other constructions were intact and in the value of the property had gone up manifold and as such there was no question of any bungling or misappropriation.In the appeal, the petitioners contended that the case was related to civil liability which could not be converted into a criminal case.
The HPCA which was a no-profit making company could not be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act meant for booking state-owned bodies and government officials.
The petitioners contended that the land allotted by the government was put to optimum utilisation for the construction of the cricket stadium and other allied facilities. Not a single penny was received in the form of grant in aid from the state government and no allegation of bribery or such offence was committed by them.