Sunil Rajendra Milak, partner of Value Packaging, a Kutch-based company manufacturing packaging material, was arrested by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Gujarat late on Monday evening in connection with a corruption case filed against suspended Gujarat cadre IAS officer Pradeep Sharma and others.
ACB picked up Milak from the office of Value Packaging in Galpadar village near Gandhidham town in Kutch at around 6 pm on Tuesday. The arrest comes around two months after the suspended IAS officer was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Milak was mentioned as a co-accused in the case on September 30 this year.
“Yes, the case was filed in September. But we were collecting evidence against Milak before proceeding to make his arrest,” deputy superintendent of police (DySP) of ACB, Tribhovan Patel told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, Sharma was picked up from Ahmedabad hours after ACB registered the case and was formally arrested on October 1. The officer is presently in judicial custody.
The case pertains to a few orders of land allottment to Welspun Group and Value Packaging, made by Sharma as collector of Kutch district in 2004. ACB says the 1984 batch IAS officer allotted land to Welspun “below market rate” and thereby caused a loss of around Rs1 crore to state exchequer. Returning the favour, Gopikisan Goenka, then chairman of Welspun, asked Milak to make Sharma’s wife Shayamal a 30 per cent partner in Value Packaging. Value packaging has a long term contract of supplying more than 80 per cent of its packaging material to textile units of Welspun located in nearby Varsamedi village in Anjar taluka of Kutch.
ACB says, Shyamal did not invest a single penny in Value Packaging for years even as she got her share of profit the company made. In his statement given to the Enforcement Directorate, Milak had stated that he had made Shyamal a partner at the request of Goenka. He had repeated the same in his statement recorded by ACB in early October.
ACB says some of the profit amount deposited in bank account of Shyamal Sharma was later transferred to bank account of her husband. This, the ACB says, constitute a case of corruption.
Incidentally, Sharma is facing a slew of criminal cases for alleged misuse of power vested in him as an IAS officer.