The state CID (Crime) has registered a third case of corruption against suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma for misuse of power as the district collector of Kutch. The latest case pertains to illegal allotment of a huge piece of land to the Welspun Group for setting up a factory in the district.
In December 2009,Sharma,who last held the post of Bhavnagar Municipal Commissioner,was arrested on charges of corruption in allotting shops in the Bhuj wholesale market which was rebuilt after the 2001 earthquake.
He was released on bail last month. In the second complaint,he is accused of allowing a private firm in Kutch to make payments for his huge telephone bills.
Now,Rajkot CID DySP Parikshita Rathod has lodged as case against him. While CID officials are tightlipped on the matter,sources said that Sharma had misused his powers as collector in 2003-2004 to allot land to the Welspun Group at Vershamedi village in Anjar taluka. The move had incurred the state government a loss to the tune of Rs 1.2 crore.
According to the complaint,the Welspun Group,which manufactures towels and bedsheets,was allotted two lakh square metres land by Sharma despite the fact that a collector cannot,by his own,allot more than 20,000 square metres of land.
A collector is required to take permission from the state government if the area is over 20,000 square metres. But Sharma allegedly did not seek permission and passed eight to 10 different allotment orders of 20,000 square metres each to Welspun.
Pradeep is the brother of Additional Director General of Police Kuldeep Sharma.