New Delhi, Apr 15: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal threatened to file a defamation suit if the Army does not tender an unconditional apology for its statement that questioned the campaign demanding handing over of Annandale ground.
At a hurriedly called press conference here, Dhumal termed as "baseless" the allegations of land grab in connection with Annandale ground. "The ground factually belongs to the government of Himachal Pradesh and is under unlawful occupation of the army. The Durand Cup (football) started from this ground in the 19th Century. It was given on lease of ten years to the army which was extended. But for the last 30 years the lease has not been renewed," Dhumal said.
He demanded an unconditional apology from the Western Command failing which he would file a defamation suit. Asked if he was willing to talk to the army on the issue, he said "yes but only after an apology is tendered".
Dhumal said his secretary had received a call from the Lieutenant Gen of the Western Command that the army wanted to discuss the matter. He refuted charges that he wanted to take away the ground as his son and MP Anurag Thakur wished to build a cricket stadium there. "14 Associations have come to me to demand that the army vacate the land but cricket association has made no request. Army is only using the ground to play golf," he said.