Himachal cricket body officials get jail for match disruption

Dharamsala:Over five and a half years after a domestic cricket match scheduled here was put off, a court here Friday held six people, including two office-bearers of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) guilty and sentenced them to six months imprisonment.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Ajay Mehta also imposed a fine of Rs.1,500 each on the five, who were booked under sections of unlawful association, obstruction and causing mischief before the Ranji Trophy match between Himachal Pradesh and Tripura Dec 1, 2005 in the HPCA stadium.

Assistant District Attorney Davinder Chaudhary said that Sanjay Sharma (current HPCA public relations officer), Yudhister Katoch (joint secretary), Gautam Thakur, Aseem Aggarwal, Vipin Mehra and Ashok Kumar were convicted and sentenced to jail.

The conviction came Thursday but the sentence was only pronounced Friday.

“The convicts have been given bail and given time to move the higher court till Nov 11,” Chaudhary added.

HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood said the association would move the sessions court.

The HPCA stadium, one of the newest venues in the country, is situated nearly 4,000 feet above sea level. It’s one of the most beautiful grounds in the world.

HPCA is currently headed by Anurag Thakur, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Hamirpur and son of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

As per the prosecution, the match was put off by the match referee after officials of two groups claimed that their respective organisation was the HPCA and affiliated with the BCCI.

The then HPCA led by Rajinder Zar produced a letter from the BCCI confirming that the team headed by him was permitted to play in the Ranji Trophy.

In retaliation, the office-bearers of the association led by Thakur allegedly put sprinklers in the outfield.

On the complaint of match referee Narender Menon, police had registered the case.


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