The Gujarat government has moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Ahmedabad bench, requesting a stay on its order to quash the chargesheet against former IPS officer Rahul Sharma in connection with the 2002 riots CDs. The tribunal, while scrapping the chargesheet, had slammed the government saying that the action against the officer was “tainted by mischief” and “coloured by malice and mala fides.” After a brief hearing on Thursday, the bench reserved its verdict.
Requesting stay on the order, the state argued that some of the observations made by tribunal were not relevant to the matter and therefore, the order required to be stayed. It also prayed for relief on the ground that “judgment is likely to affect number of pending inquiries and some of the observations might affect the hearing of these applications”.
Sharma objected to the state government’s move arguing that the application for stay was without any time limit. Sharma, through his lawyer I H Syed, submitted that “without any time limit stay would amount to giving final relief at this stage especially after passing of a final order by a different bench of this tribunal on 22.01.2016 and, therefore, is not maintainable”.
He also objected to request for stay on the order, saying that the order was passed by a different division bench, and therefore, granting any relief to the state government would amount to fresh hearing and on merits of the case which was impermissible in law. The state government chargesheeted Sharma for keeping the CDs with him instead of handing over to concerned department. He had submitted these CDs in 2004 before the Nanavati Commission.
Following the chargesheet, Sharma moved before the CAT in 2011. He took early retirement last year, and since then he is practising law. On January 22, the tribunal had pronounced the order stating that the CDs, containing geographical locations of accused in riots cases and others, were in Sharma’s custody since 2002, but the government, despite knowing it, didn’t track it. The CAT asked why the officers investigating the riot cases kept a “collective silence” till it was placed before the Nanavati Commission.