A former Ranji player on Friday charged the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president with 'forcing him' to opt out of the team in lieu of money.
Jaswant Rai, a left-arm spinner and middle-order batsman, alleged that HPCA chief Anurag Thakur, who is also the son of former HP chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, forced him to make way for youngsters by promising him that the loan which he had taken from the benevolent fund to the tune of Rs 50,000 would be "waived off".
Rai, who played 75 Ranji matches between 1985 to 2000 for Himachal Pradesh, said at Chandiragh that "Anurag Thakur, due to his influence, managed to play the last match for HP against J and K in the 2000 season even without giving trials."
"Not only this, Anurag also captained the team in the last match against J and K without even giving trials," he alleged.
He said that the HPCA chief assured him that he would make him the captain of the HP Ranji team in the time to come.
Rai, who took 150 wickets and scored 2000 runs in his Ranji career, said Anurag, who is also junior national team selector, appointed him as the coach of HP under 15 team in the season 2002.
"But in 2003, instead of sending me for a level two course at Bangalore, Anurag sent four players, including three from outside Himachal Pradesh," he said.
Rai also alleged that Anurag had manipulated to get his father appointed as the chief patron of HPCA and even changed the constitution of the body accordingly.
"He inducted 25 life members on the HPCA panel after taking a bribe of Rs 25,000 each from them," Rai claimed.
When contacted, Anurag Thakur strongly refuted the allegations made by Jaswant Rai and dismissed those as "baseless".
"Rai's family life is troubled. Moreover he performed miserably in the 2000 and 2001 seasons," he said adding why would a player agree for a waiver of Rs 50,000 when he can make Rs 30,000 from a complete Ranji season.
He also said one should not pay heed to allegations made by just one player.