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Removal of Anurag Thakur as BCCI President historic, Will help weaning out corrupt elements with corporate interests: Critics

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SHIMLA- Anurag Thakur’s removal as the BCCI President by the Apex Court for alleged contempt of court and perjury by lying in the court after taking oath of telling truth has come a major blow to BJP and its youth wing. The action of Supreme Court is welcomed by those awaiting reforms and transparency of affairs in BCCI. Being India’s insanely rich sport body, BCCI lured politicians and mafia-like elements to creep in as board members.

In April 2016, too, the Supreme Court had remarked that cricket bosses has transformed the Board into a “mutual benefit society” which disburses huge amounts to choice members without even bothering to ask how they spend it.

As per the Supreme Court, not only Anurag ignored the implementation of Lodha Committee but also lied in the court, which can land him in jail if confirmed. The court had found him prima facie guilty of perjury for approaching ICC chairman Shashank Manohar for a letter undermining the judgment of July 18, 2016 upholding the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee recommendation to have a CAG nominee on the Board’s apex council.

How can a person who prima facie seems to have committed an offence of contempt of court and perjury continue to head BCCI? Which court is going to grant relief if the apex court orders his prosecution? You apologise if you want to escape,

the Bench had told counsel Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for BCCI and Thakur.

Anurag Thakur in an affidavit submitted to the court had denied seeking any letter from ICC Chairman and explained that he had just asked for his view on it.

I pointed out to the Chairman of the ICC, Mr Shashank Manohar that, when he was President of BCCI, he had taken a view that the recommendations of the Justice Lodha committee appointing the nominee of the CAG on the Apex Council would amount to governmental interference, and might invoke an action of suspension from ICC. I therefore requested him that, being the ICC Chairman, can a letter be issued clarifying the position which he had taken as BCCI President,

had said Anurag in his affidavit filed in the court.

However, the court found the content of the affidavit false. In political sphere, it means a huge damage to the image of three-time Member of Parliament from Himachal and son of former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Watch: Anurag Thakur’s Media Statement After Removal As BCCI President

HP CPI(M) Welcomes SC’s Move

Among those who welcomed it, the Communist Party of India Marxist in Himachal Pradesh has termed the decision of the Apex Court as historic in the direction of making reforms in the cricket body.

The members of the HP State Secretariat CPI (M) and Deputy Mayor of Shimla, Tikendar Panwer said that he had personally have a writ pending in the HP High court seeking democratisation of the HPCA. The writ was filed long before the formation of the Lodha committee and its recommendations and interestingly both the writ petition and the recommendations are quite congruent, Panwar claimed.

Panwar said that both the writ and recommendation of Lodha committee shared some common reforms such as: 

  • Democratisation of the sports body with regular elections to the body of HPCA and getting rid of the life time members with voting rights.
  • Transparency within the HPCA where it should be brought under the RTI.
  • Only sports personnel should be responsible for managing the affairs of the bodies especially cricket.
  • Complete transparency in selection process with laying basis on performance in local tournaments. Unfortunately local level district tournaments have completely been finished and obituary of such tournaments was written by HPCA led by its president

The CPIM has termed the decision as historic and said that it will surely help in weaning out corrupt elements with corporate interests from the helm of affairs. He further added that he party will also demand the democratisation of HPCA in the state and the state government must ensure that action must be taken against the convertible HPCA from society into company and all those responsible for doing this right from the president and those who are into different government jobs must be taken to task.

For Anurag it is a matter of great worry as there is no court to provide him relief from decisions of the Apex Court. A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur threatened that once the Supreme Court passes an order to initiate prosecution, no other court would dare to come in between, and the BCCI president would have “no way out, but go to jail.”

Photo: ESPN Info

Art & Culture

Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman 2017-18 Announced, These 4 Persons Would be Honored

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Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman 2017-18

Shimla– ‘Himachal Academy Shikhar Samman’ Award has been announced for the year 2017-18, informed the Secretary Academy Dr. Karam Singh on June 6, 2020.  

The recommendation of the jury the winners have been announced, he said, adding that four Shikhar Samman (awards) would be given in the field of language, culture and literature for two years and Rs. one lakh each would be given to each awardee.

He said that for the year 2017, Prof. Keshav Sharma would be honoured for contribution in Literature and special achievements. Folk Singer Mohan Rathour would be honoured with Language and Culture Shikar Samman.

For the year 2018, Dr. O.C. Handa would be honoured with Sahitya Shikhar Samman, whereas Dinesh Kumari of Kangra would be honoured in Art and Culture sector.

The ‘Shikhar Samman’ is given to the Himachali writers in the field of art and culture and to littérateurs from the country who worked for the promotion of Himachali language, traditions and culture.

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Health Dept Scam: One More Person Arrested by Vigilance

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Shimla-In the alleged scam related to the purchase of medical equipment including PPE kits by the Health Department, Himachal Pradesh Government, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau has arrested another person – Prithi Singh – the man who had accepted to have recorded telephonic conversation with the ex-director Ajay Kumar Gupta.

Gupta was arrested on May 21 after the said recording appeared in media. Later, he was granted bail by a special court, Shimla (forest). The vigilance had questioned Prithvi Singh earlier but had not arrested him. Prithi had claimed that he recorded the audio because his payment worth a crore was put on hold. Gupta, Pritiv had told Vigilance, was demanding a bribe to release the payment. It wasn’t clear what charges have been labelled against Prithvi – an employee of the firm which had supplied equipment to the Health Department.

About the Case

Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajay Gupta was suspended after a 43-second-long audio clip leaked in the media on May 21, 2020. In the audio, two persons can be heard talking about bank accounts and transactions of Rs. 5 lakh. The charges are that the Director was allegedly asking for a bribe in purchase-related to health equipment in wake of the pandemic.

Additional Chief Secretary RD Dhiman had to hand over the case to the Vigilance department soon after the audio clip appeared. Ordering immediate probe is something that BJP is presenting as proof of State Government and Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s innocence.

Just after a week of an audio clip of an alleged deal between the Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajay Gupta and an employee and close aid of a politician appeared; Dr. Rajiv Bindal resigned from the position of State BJP Chief. His resignation was also accepted almost immediately. He claimed that he resigned on “moral grounds” as he was hurt after the party’s name was associated with the alleged scam. 

The opposition, some senior leaders of the ruling party, MLAs, and activists in the State have been demanding a probe under a sitting judge of the State High Court and the resignation of the Chief Minister as he holds the charge of the Health Ministry. They are of the opinion that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is just another tool under the State Government. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is running the Health Ministry, and the sudden resignation of BJP Chief Rajeev Bindal after a week the scam came to light has already raised several questions.

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Himachal- Unemployed Rural Persons Allowed to Work on Own Land Under MGNREGA

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Himachal Pradesh MGNREGA sceme for umemployed rural

Shimla-The State Government has allowed the unemployed rural persons in Himachal Pradesh to work on their own land under MNREGA, even if the work was not in the shelf of projects approved by the Gram Sabhas. The decision was taken during a review meeting of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department on June 6, 2020.

The State Government informed that total expenditure of Rs. 859 crore have been incurred thereby generating 260 lakhs person-days during last financial year whereas Rs. 54 crore has been spent and 22 lakh person-days were generated under MNREGA during the current financial year so far.

The Government informed that to ensure transparency in the works of MNREGA, the department has implemented SECURE software. Hundred percent payments regarding works under MNREGA has been implemented through DBT.  For worksite facilities, homemade protective face cover, soap and water were being provided to MNREGA workers. About 12835 MNREGA workers registered with Buildings and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board had completed 90 days, the Government informed.

Further, the Government informed that under the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojna 610 houses have been constructed during the last financial year and the target has been fixed to construct 998 houses during the current financial year. The department was also planning to impart rural mason training to the interested persons, the Government informed.

HP Government has launched Mukhya Mantri One Bigha Scheme recently by the convergence between National Rural Livelihood Mission and MNREGA.  Over 2000 Self Help Groups of women have applied under this scheme till date. The government claimed that it was laying special focus on skilling and placement in the formal sector for rural poor above the minimum wages. Under the Project UNNATI, a target has been fixed to train youth in various new trades such as Fashion Designing, Assistant Hair Stylist, Multi Skill Technician, Dairy Processing Equipments etc.

The State Government said that, under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, Rs. 23.70 crore have been released to the Jal Shakti Vibhag for the establishment of Sewerage Treatment Plants on a pilot basis in Thunag, Dharampur and Janjehli in Mandi district and Bangana in Una district. Projects of wayside amenities have been sanctioned in four districts viz. Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur and Una for Rs. one crore each.

The Government also said that the panchayats should enhance capacities to raise their sources of revenue.

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