Dropping a fresh bombshell for beleaguered Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association president Anurag Thakur,chief minister Virbhadra Singh said the government proposes to revive HP Sports (Registration,Recognition and Regulations of Associations) Bill — a legislation passed in 2005 during his earlier regime,but later repealed by the successor BJP government.
Only Thursday,state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had filed two new FIRs against the cricket body,one FIR also names Anurag Thakur and his younger brother Arun Thakur — both sons of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. One FIR against HPCA was filed on August 1,2013.
On Friday,when his reaction was sought on political vendetta allegations of leveled by Anurag Thakur,Chief Minister told The Indian Express There is no political vendetta in the FIRs. Infact,soon I may revive the Sports Act 2005 to clean-up the HPCA mess. I propose to make functioning of all cricket/sports bodies fully transparent and absolutely clean. There will a provision of regular elections to these bodies. Some officials of the government will also get representations to these bodies,which can’t be a personal affair.
He recalled that HP Sports (Registration,Recognition and Regulations of Associations) Bill 2005 was passed by the assembly to bring transparency in the functioning of the sports associations. It was not targeted against any particular sports body. The law was challenged in the court and later repealed by the Prem Kumar Dhumal government on its return to power in 2007-08. This,jeopardized a well intended move to the government.
Had the law been in place,HPCA would not have done much a massive regularities and committed fraud on the public,first getting itself registered as a society and then a parallel company Himachal Players Cricket Association (HPCA) at Kanpur,and eventually converting itself into a new company of same name, Chief Minister said.
Virbhadra Singh he was neither against Anurag Thakur nor HPCA. There is also no question of political vendetta but no government can allow any sports body to commit such a ‘fraud ‘ with the citizens.
Whatever decisions a sports body takes it should be done in day light and in a clandestine and hush hush manner or under the darkness of nights. No person should make sports bodies as their personal empire and do whatever he proposes may it be issue of registration at Kanpur or converting itself into a company after obtaining huge benefits from the state government, said an agitated chief minister.
Here,Virbhadra Singh also asserted that he was not opposed to holding international cricket matches in Himachal Pradesh,which gives the state a world wide projection but the question is whether the hosts (HPCA) are following rules and regulations to conduct itself well.
Under the legislation,which the government proposes to revive,the sports bodies in Himachal Pradesh will function only as par rules and regulations. There will be regular elections and proper scrutiny of the accounts and other transactions including creation of new assets like sports stadiums,hotels. Beside cricket other games will also get equal encouragement.
Cricket is a game of gentlemen and it should be maintained like that, says Virbhadra Singh.
During earlier congress regime when Virbhadra Singh enacted the sports bill,Anurag Thakur – when was president of HPCA ( but not MP) – had fought a protected legal battle against the bill,which the BJP government eventually withdraw. The then chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had termed the bill as controversial,ill-conceived and draconian legislation targeted only against HPCA.
After lodging of the two FIRs (total three) by the state Vigilance and Anti corruption Bureau on Thursday,Anurag Thakur had accused chief minister of political vendetta and said the vigilance was fabricating the cases against him.
Virbhadra Singh says perhaps Anurag Thakur has forgotten two FIRs registered against me by the BJP government led by his father. However,he (Anurag) should not compare these FIRs with those fabricated against him to settle political scores.