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A Bhavnagar court Monday rejected the bail plea of jailed ex-IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in an alleged Rs 25 lakh bribery case. Sharma was arrested on March 9, moments after he walked out of the Sabarmati jail, where he had spent 20 months in an alleged money laundering case.
The fresh FIR, lodged in Bhavnagar, was based on a statement of Sahay Raj, Managing Director of a private shipping firm, Shoft Shipyard. In his statement, recorded by the ED officials, Raj alleged that he gave Rs 25 lakh bribe to Sharma for releasing funds.
“During the period December 2008 to May 2009, Pradeep N Sharma was MD of Alcock Ashdown (Gujarat) Limited. During this period, he had given money to the tune of Rs 25 lakh for release of the payments from Alcock and Ashdown (Gujarat) Limited to his company. He also deposed that he had given the said amount to Saifuddin Bhuria,” Raj said.
Sharma had moved the High Court through his lawyer R J Goswami, challenging the FIR against him. In his petition, Sharma alleged that since 2010, at least ten FIRs have been lodged against him with “mala fide intention” and “just with a view to see that the petitioner is kept behind bars”.
The petition further stated that the ACB lodged the fresh FIR at 6.15 am on March 9 and Sharma was picked up by a team of 15 to 20 policemen at 10 am from the gate of Sabarmati Central Jail when he was walking out after spending 20 months in jail in an alleged money-laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
Sharma, in his defence, has stated that the allegation against him in the fresh FIR is more than ten years old and the case is based on a statement recorded by the ED in 2014. The petition says that while he was in jail, he was not questioned even once by the ACB officials.