The Himachal Pradesh government has charge-sheeted two senior IAS officers in a case involving land allotment to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) during the previous BJP regime and giving alleged permission to change of land use for building an ultra-luxurious residential complex ‘The Pavilion’ for players near the cricket stadium in Dharamsala.

These two officers were additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan and commissioner, inquiries, RS Gupta. Govt has set a 10-day deadline to reply for them. The personnel department issued a memorandum to both Sanan and Gupta under Rule 8 of the All-India Service (discipline and appeal) Rules, 1969.

Sanan, who was principle secretary, revenue, in 2011, approved the use of land for commercial purposes initially leased to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association in Mauza Khaniara by the orders of the state cabinet for limited purpose of construction of residential building for player’s infrastructural facility. “But the approval of land for commercial purpose was granted by Sanan at his own level by varying the earlier decision of the Cabinet for which he was not competent,” reads the chargesheet.

The chargesheet also points out that there was no recommendation from the Gram Panchayat, Upparli Dari, for change of land use. Saran has been accused of abusing his position as a public servant and granting undue benefit to the HPCA.

The chargesheet says that Sanan had abused his position as public servant and granted undue benefit to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and further he failed to maintain absolute integrity, devotion to duty and thus contravened provisions of Rules 2(1) and (2) of the All-India Service (discipline and appeal) Rules, 1969, which is unbecoming of the IAS officer.

The chargesheet also states that land use had been changed without obtaining permission from the sports department.

Gupta, who was Kangra deputy commissioner at the time of transfer of land, has been accused of disobeying the government orders. The chargesheet accuses Gupta of forwarding the case to the financial commissioner, revenue, without obtaining permission and no-objection certificate from the panchayat concerned.

Earlier, both Sanan and Gupta had been issued show-causes notices in March.

While Gupta had replied to the notice in April, Sanan filed it recently after going through the information on land lease rules he had gathered under the Right to Information Act.

HPCA is headed by former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son and the Congress – then in the opposition had accused Dhumal for extending favours to him. Congress had also objected to the land allotment and even in its “charge sheet” submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee in August last year, the Congress had also accused Govt for providing several pieces of land to the HPCA in various parts of the state.

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