The Gujarat High Court Tuesday granted bail to former IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in connection with a bribery case in which he is accused of taking Rs 25 lakh as bribe in 2008 when he was the managing director of Alcock Ashdown (Gujarat) Ltd, a state-owned company.
Justice A J Desai granted relief to Sharma after a brief hearing. Sharma was arrested by Gujarat Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on March 9, hours after he stepped out of Sabarmati Central Jail after getting bail in a separate case of alleged money laundering probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ACB had lodged the fresh FIR at 6.15 AM on the same day and picked up Sharma at 10 AM from the gate of Sabarmati jail.
The FIR is based on a statement of Sahay Raja, Managing Director of a private shipping firm-Shoft Shipyard, who has allegedly said that he gave Rs 25 lakh bribe to Sharma for releasing funds back in 2009. This statement was recorded by the ED during its probe against the former officer in the money laundering case.
While he was in jail, Sharma had alleged that the ACB never questioned him or lodged any offence till his release date. In the chargesheet, sources said, ACB has summed up its case around the statement of Sahay Raj,
Raj is alleged to have said, “During the period December 2008 to May 2009, Pradeep N Sharma was M.D of Alcock Ashdown (Gujarat) Limited. During this period, he had given money to the tune of Rs25 lakhs for release of the payments from Alcock and Ashdown (Gujarat) Limited to his company.”
In his bail application, Sharma had questioned the legality behind his phone being tapped. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which probed the case, has annexed transcripts of telephone conversations purportedly between Sharma and Sahay Raj.