In a telephone interview, HPCA president Anurag Singh Thakur responds to the charges made in the vigilance probe. Excerpts:
The HP government has filed vigilance charges against you and HPCA. Could you clarify your position?
It is a witch-hunt by the Virbhadra Singh-led government for they themselves are facing a CBI corruption investigation. The vigilance probe is politically motivated.
The probe charges the HPCA with trying to cheat the government out of revenue, illegal felling of trees, encroachment....
The charges are false. We pay the government a total of Rs 28 lakh per annum for the whole plot and this government has not accepted it for the last two years. They had also locked up the stadium till the HP High Court handed it back to us in 2013. They tried to destroy cricket through a Sports Bill in ’05 and have brought it back again in ’14.
What about the allegations that you wanted to take the society out of state control by converting it to a company?
A company infuses professionalism into the HPCA. I agree, being a society does make a body more accountable but legally it doesn’t make a difference if you have society members as shareholders, which we have done.
But the government claims that it granted the assets to the HPCA. So how can you take it out of their supervision?
They are fooling people everywhere and you compare their efforts with ours. Eight years ago, Virbhadra Singh promised to build a stadium in Prakritinagar but did nothing. In the last five years, the HPCA has built stadia in Prakritinagar, Shimla, Una and Bilaspur other than the international stadium.