The Himachal Pradesh government on Wednesday decided to withdraw all “politically motivated cases” that the previous Congress government had allegedly filed, The Indian Express reported. The government’s move follows a statement by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur (pictured above) in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

Five of the cases are against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, which was previously headed by three-time Bharatiya Janata Party MP Anurag Thakur. The state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had lodged an FIR against 18 people, including Thakur, his father and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, and eight serving and retired bureaucrats.

The cricketing body was accused of illegally converting a registered society into a company, the daily said. The government led by Dhumal allegedly allotted land to construct a cricket stadium, a luxury resort called the Pavillion and demolished a few government residential quarters at Dharamsala, which belong to the sports department, to give more land to the cricket association.

The Congress government had cancelled the lease for the stadium in October 2013 and decided to take over the property. The cricket association, however, challenged the decision before the High Court, which set aside the government’s notification.

“There were five FIRs lodged against the cricket body, and all were basically targeted to book Anurag Thakur, Prem Kumar Dhumal, office-bearers of the HPCA and some government officers,” HPCA Spokesperson Sanjay Sharma said. “These were clear acts of political vendetta.”

The Uttar Pradesh precedent

Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on January 8 approved eight bills, including an amendment to the Uttar Pradesh Criminal Law (Composition of Offences and Abatement of Trials) Act of 1979 that seeks to drop 20,000 “politically motivated” cases filed across the state. These include one against Chief Minister Adityanath.

On December 20, 2017, the state government had written to Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela, asking him to withdraw the case filed against Adityanath and 12 others at Gorakhpur’s Pipiganj Police Station on May 27, 1995.