The opposition BJP in Himachal Pradesh has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission (EC) against officiating Chief Secretary P. Mitra for allegedly trying to influence the electoral process. The Bharatiya Janata Party demanded his transfer from the post.
"Mitra is openly abetting use of official machinery and processes for furthering the prospects of the candidates of the Congress," said the complaint, available to the media today. It said the most recent episode was the filing of a charge sheet in a trial court against senior BJP leader and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur, who is seeking re-election to Lok Sabha form Hamirpur.
The case pertained to the land leased to the Thakur-administered Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
"Mitra while functioning as the financial commissioner (revenue) instigated the complaint. He as home secretary has supervised the investigation. The vigilance bureau submitted a 600-page report to the government seeking sanction to prosecute Dhumal and Thakur along with two to three IAS officers," said the complaint.
The BJP said the report was processed by Mitra within a few hours as home secretary and submitted to himself as chief secretary for obtaining prosecution sanction from the governor.
Dhumal and his son were formally charged April 25 in the trial court in Dharamsala with alleged wrongdoing in allotment of the land for constructing a residential complex for players near HPCA stadium in Dharamsala. The filing of the charge sheet came barely hours after Himachal Pradesh High Court acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir dismissed an HPCA petition that sought the court's direction to quash a First Information Report (FIR) against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Official sources said the state government on April 2 got sanction to initiate proceedings against Dhumal for the allotment of land during his tenure as chief minister from 2008-12.
Thakur, the joint secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India, said the case was politically motivated.