Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Monday said former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son were involved in corruption in the name of promoting cricket.
"The previous BJP government went out of the way to give precious government land worth Rs.250 crore in various places to the HPCA at an annual lease of Re.1. We are inquiring into it," Virbhadra Singh said at an election rally in Sarkhaghat in Mandi district.
He said the state government is not against promoting cricket or any other game but associating a special class of people with it (cricket) is wrong.
The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by BJP MP and Dhumal's son Anurag Thakur, also a joint secretary in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is under investigation for wrongfully converting a registered society into a company.
The vigilance bureau filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA in August 2013 over alleged wrongdoings in land allotment and for constructing a residential complex for players near its stadium in Dharamsala, 250 km from the state capital Shimla.
The chief minister blamed Dhumal and his family for the malicious propaganda and personal attacks involving his family members.
Virbhadra Singh said he had to face trials in court when Dhumal was the chief minister. "Since I had not done anything wrong, I came out clean in every case," he added.
The CPI-M sought the Supreme Court's intervention March 28 to review the constitution of all cricket bodies in India, including the HPCA, to ensure transparency and accountability in their functioning.
In a communication to the Supreme Court chief justice, CPI-M leader Tikender Panwar said the state associations of the BCCI must be put under legal scrutiny and monitored by the apex court.
"Cricket has become a platform for land sharks and such people, especially in states like Himachal Pradesh where cricket is synonymous with land mafia," Panwar said.
Balloting for the four Lok Sabha seats in the hill state will be held May 7.