In a fresh blow to retired Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldip Sharma, who took on the previous Gujarat government under Narendra Modi as its chief minister, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected a petition seeking the quashing of an FIR lodged in 1984. The case was reopened in 2012.
A criminal complaint was filed against Sharma, then SP of Kutch, and then police inspector G H Vasavada, in May 1984 by an alleged smuggler, Ibla Sheth, who accused the two of custodial torture in Bhuj. When the matter reached before a magisterial court in Bhuj, the then government moved a petition, saying Sharma and Vasavada can’t be prosecuted due to lack of mandatory sanction before prosecuting a government servant under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
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However, in 2012, the state government granted sanction for prosecuting Sharma and Vasavada and the case was reopened. Following this, Vasavada moved the High Court, seeking quashing of the FIR. The High Court had stayed the criminal proceedings against the duo. Following arguments, the court had reserved its order in November last year.
On Thursday, Justice J B Pardiwala pronounced the order, saying the FIR can’t be quashed at this stage and directed the concerned trial court to speed up the proceeding and complete it by 31 December. In the meanwhile, the court granted four weeks’ relief to the petitioner for approaching Supreme Court.
“The court said that the petition fails to make a prima facie case. It ordered the trial court to complete the trial by the end of this year,” said Jayesh Dave, who represented the complainant in this case.
By 2012, 1976-batch IPS Sharma, who retired as DGP two years ago, had earned the government’s apathy and in various court cases, he directly named Modi and then minister of state for home, Amit Shah (now BJP national president), accusing them of “downgrading” his Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) to deny him promotion. Sharma was promoted by the order of the Delhi High Court and it was the UPA-led Central government that promoted him to DGP.
Recently, Sharma was chargesheeted by the state government for violation of financial rules. The chargesheet claimed that Sharma, as Managing Director (MD) of the Gujarat Sheep and Wool Development Corporation, didn’t surrender a certain unused amount pending with the corporation to the government as per the norm. The amount was surrendered by his successor.