In a set back to suspended IAS officer Pradip Sharma, the Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected his anticipatory bail application in connection with the alleged Rs 1.73 crore money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, Ahmedabad officials (ED).
The court, however, granted two weeks relief to Sharma from arrest.
Justice Paresh Upadhya dismissed the petition while stating that Sharma’s argument that “he is already granted, on the same set of facts would not help him, for the reason that the present one is the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act…” Justice Upadhyay gave relief to Sharma from arrest for two weeks after his lawyer requested the court to extend protection.
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In March 2012, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a case against Sharma under the Prevention of Money Laundering Actfor allegedly selling government land at a cheaper rate to Kutch-based Welspun Group when serving as Collector of Kutch back in 2004. As the investigation progressed ED now claims that Sharma remitted Rs 1.73 crore to the United States (US) through illegal channel.
This case is based on the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) case that claimed that selling land to Welspun Group caused a loss of about Rs 1 crore to the exchequer and Sharma received financial benefits worth Rs 29.5 lakh through his wife Shyamal’s partnership in Value Packaging, a Welspun Group company.
He was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and was eventually released on bail.