February 2, 2019 3:48:06 am
IN a relief to former IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected the petition of Enforcement Directorate, seeking cancellation of his bail in connection with an alleged money laundering case.
The apex court while rejecting the petition held that “having regard to the fact that the respondent accused has been on bail since March 8, 2018 and prior to his release on bail, he was in custody for about nineteen months, we are not inclined to interfere. The special leave petition is accordingly dismissed.”
The court directed Sharma that in two weeks he should file an undertaking that he will make himself available whenever his presence is required in the course of trial. Sharma was arrested by ED officials in July, 2016 and was released on bail by Gujarat High Court in March, 2018. Hours before his release from Sabarmati Central Jail, the Anti-Corruption Bureau officials arrested him from the gate of the jail.
The ED in its probe has claimed that Sharma as a Bhuj collector sanctioned huge land parcel at cheaper price to Welspun India Ltd and its sister concerns in gross violation of norms. This had caused financial loss to the state government to the tune of Rs 1.20 crore.
Sharma has spent nearly three years in jail between January, 2010 and September, 2010, February 2011 and December 2012, September, 2014 and January, 2015 and since July 31, 2016 in different offences lodged by CID (crime) and the ED. He is facing nearly ten cases of alleged corruption.
Sharma had several run-ins with the Gujarat government when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. During his judicial custody, he was denied interim bail for attending his son’s wedding in the United States through video conferencing. There were repeated thefts at his Gandhinagar home for which he had sought temporary bail for installing CCTV cameras.
Earlier this week, the Gujarat High Court refused to quash an FIR lodged against him for alleged scam in allotting land to traders for marketing yard in Bhuj, Kutch district when he was the district collector. The High Court held that “the investigation has been completed long time back and the chargesheet has been filed. It is high time that the prosecution now proceeds further…”
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