PCA asked to return leased land November 1, 2006

Legal dispute puts Mohali under the spotlight

The Punjab Cricket Association could lose its foothold on the Mohali Stadium © Getty Images

A long-standing dispute between the Punjab Sports Council (PSC) and Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has returned to the spotlight after a local court issued a notice on behalf of the PSC, asking the PCA to return the land on which their stadium is built.

The PCA Stadium in Mohali was built in 1992 on land leased from the PSC. Inderjit Singh Bindra, the president of the PCA, was then also the sports secretary in the state government and he is supposed to have taken the lease on a nominal annual rent (which some sources say was as meager as Rs 100). Now the PSC has demanded Rs 150 crore (US$ 33,366,000 approx), which they believe the PCA has earned since 1992, along with an additional Rs 50 crore for damages.

Pargat Singh, former Indian hockey captain and currently director of sports at Punjab, filed a petition yesterday at Kharar SDM's court. He confirmed that the PSC had asked the PCA to hand over the land to the Sports Council, which, he believed, was the legal owner. Pargat also added that the PSC had been forced into this move because the PCA had requested for more time in response to the legal notice sent in the second week of July. "Three months is a long time and since there was not further movement, we decided to approach the courts."

As the situation stands, the PCA has been asked to file a reply by November 15. Bindra insisted he hadn't seen the notice yet. A few close observers point to the political dimension to the whole matter, with the ruling party trying to get a foothold into cricketing matters in the state ahead of the assembly elections scheduled for February next year.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo