The Gujarat High Court has allowed removal of names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former state chief secretary Varesh Sinha as respondents from a petition challenging a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order quashing a charge sheet against former IPS officer Rahul Sharma in a 2002 CD case. A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Supehia in an oral order on Tuesday allowed the government pleader’s request to remove the names of the two respondents in the case – Modi and Sinha.
Government Pleader Manisha Lavkumar sought deletion of the names on the ground Sharma was the only contesting party in the case. He argued that CAT had not issued notice to the two respondents while hearing the case. “Permission is accordingly granted. (Names of) respondents No. 3 (Sinha) and 4 (Modi) stand deleted,” the court said during the hearing. Sinha is at present the State Election Commissioner.
Sharma had included their names as respondents in the case he filed in CAT, a quasi-judicial body that adjudicates disputes with respect to recruitment and service conditions of public servants. The state government had moved an application in the high court seeking quashing of the order of CAT which in January last scrapped the charge sheet against Sharma, calling it “tainted by malice” and “mala fide” in intention.
The government had filed the charge sheet against Sharma for keeping with him a CD containing telephonic conversations between politicians and bureaucrats during the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Sharma moved CAT in August 2011 for quashing the charge sheet, which accused him of not submitting the original CD to the government.
He was posted in control room here as deputy commissioner of police from March 24, 2002 to July 3, 2002 and assisted the city Crime Branch in investigations of riots cases. At that time, he had prepared a CD of mobile phone call records of ministers, police officers and bureaucrats between February-March 2002 by obtaining details from service providers.
In 2004, Sharma submitted the CD before the Nanavati Commission, set up by the state government to probe the riots, as evidence. In the charge sheet against him on August 13, 2011, the government had accused him of taking away the original CD, which should have been part of its records. Sharma had moved CAT, arguing the government action was mala fide and taken for deposing before the Commission.
He had contended that he is protected under the Commission of Inquiry Act, which according to him, prohibits any action against a government official for deposing before an inquiry commission.Sharma had taken voluntary retirement last year and is now a practicing lawyer.