SC quashes 2nd FIR against BJP MP Anurag Thakur in HPCA case

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thurs­day quashed the se­cond FIR against BJP MP Anurag Thakur and Hi­machal Pradesh Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (HPCA) in a case re­lated to al­leged en­croach­ment of 720 square yard gov­ern­ment land for the con­struc­tion of the in­door sta­dium be­sides Dharamshala cricket sta­dium.

A bench of Jus­tices A K Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and SA Ab­dul Nazeer said, “we are quash­ing the FIR” say­ing that there was no crim­i­nal­ity in­volved in the trans­fer of land on lease. The FIR was lodged on Oc­to­ber 3, 2013 against Thakur, HPCA, two IAS of­fi­cers, of­fi­cials of state ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment and oth­ers for of­fences un­der Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act and de­struc­tion of pub­lic prop­erty.

Po­lice had claimed that Thakur, who was then pres­i­dent of HPCA and oth­ers in con­nivance with state gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers had de­mol­ished the two storeyed build­ing be­long­ing to ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment and the land mea­sur­ing 720 square yards was il­le­gally taken over by the HPCA.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment had re­fused to grant prose­cu­tion sanc­tion against two IAS of­fi­cers ac­cused in the case and charge sheet was not filed against them.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, se­nior ad­vo­cate P S Pat­walia, ap­pear­ing for Thakur and oth­ers said that their was no il­le­gal­ity in­volved in the case and every thing was done in ac­cor­dance with law. He said that the case against Thakur and oth­ers was noth­ing but a po­lit­i­cal vendetta by the then state gov­ern­ment and even the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has re­fused to ac­cord prose­cu­tion sanc­tion against the ac­cused of­fi­cials say­ing every thing was done by them as part of their of­fi­cial work.

Pat­walia said that the ar­gu­ments, which were raised by them be­fore the high courts and were not ac­cepted by it were ac­cepted by the apex court in its ear­lier judge­ment dated Novem­ber 2, in which the main FIR in the case was quashed.

Ad­vo­cate D K Thakur, ap­pear­ing for for­mer chief min­is­ter Virb­hadra Singh, who was made party in the case by HPCA said that the BJP MP and oth­ers have tried to mis­lead the court by sub­mit­ting wrong facts that 720 square yard was part of the orig­i­nal lease given for the land for cricket sta­dium.

He said that gov­ern­ment land was il­le­gally given to HPCA without fol­low­ing the due pro­ce­dure of law and in con­nivance with the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. To this, the bench asked the Singh's ad­vo­cate Thakur to ex­plain as where was the crim­i­nal­ity in­volved in the case. He replied that there was crim­i­nal in­tent in­volved as the build­ing which was de­mol­ished was not in di­lap­i­dated state and peo­ple were re­sid­ing there. He pointed out that No Ob­jec­tion Cer­tifi­cate (NOC) was wrongly given by the of­fi­cials of Town and Coun­try Plan­ning (TCP) De­part­ment for use of the land for cricket re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.

The bench said that it gone through the records and did not found any crim­i­nal­ity in­volved and there­fore it quashes the FIR lodged against the ac­cused.

The bench Thurs­day ac­corded de­tailed hear­ing on the ap­peal filed by HPCA against the High Court or­der as on Novem­ber 19 it had said that FIR in ques­tion was quashed in its Novem­ber 2 ver­dict by ‘mis­take'. Ear­lier this year, the BJP gov­ern­ment in Hi­machal Pradesh had taken a de­ci­sion to with­draw all po­lit­i­cal cases in­clud­ing the HPCA cases which were lodged by previ- ous Congress gov­ern­ment.

The HPCA has moved the apex court against the or­der of High Court dated April 6, 2017 re­fus­ing to quash the FIR and ask­ing them to raise their ob­jec­tions dur­ing trial.

Vet­eran Congress leader Virb­hadra Singh has sought re­call of its Novem­ber 2 or­der in which the FIR re­lated to al­leged en­croach­ment of land was quashed by “mis­take”.

On Novem­ber 2, the apex court had quashed two FIRS against Thakur, his fa­ther and for­mer Hi­machal Pradesh chief min­is­ter Prem Ku­mar Dhu­mal and oth­ers in two sep­a­rate cases -- one re­lated to al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in grant­ing land on lease for the con­struc­tion of the Dharamshala cricket sta­dium and an­other per­tain­ing to al­leged en­croach­ment of gov­ern­ment land.

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