Pradeep Sharma, Suspended IAS Officer, Gets Pre-Arrest Bail

Pradeep Sharma, Suspended IAS Officer, Gets Pre-Arrest Bail

A local court here today granted anticipatory (pre-arrest) bail to suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in connection with an inquiry started by the Gujarat police's Anti-Corruption Bureau against him for having assets allegedly disproportionate to known sources of his income.

Additional Sessions Judge H J Joshi ordered that if an FIR was registered against Sharma, he would be released on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 and a surety of the like amount.

"The applicant shall mark his presence before the concerned police station on every fifth day of the month between 10:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs till the charge sheet is filed," the order said.

Sharma, arrested by ACB in two other cases in the past, said in the application that ACB had initiated a fresh 'open inquiry' against him regarding his assets and called him twice for questioning recently.

"Since the petitioner (Sharma) has animosity with some political leaders, the petitioner will be arrested in connection with the present open inquiry," the plea said, without mentioning any political leader.

Sharma's lawyer R J Goswami had argued that ACB had not made anything clear about the case. Public Prosecutor Sudhir Brhambhatt opposed the application, saying that there was a prima facie case against Sharma.

But the prosecutor also conceded that no fresh FIR had been lodged in the case so far. 

Sharma had been arrested in 2010 in a scam related to land allotment for rehabilitation of earthquake-affected people in Bhuj district where he was posted as Collector in 2001. In October last year, he was again arrested by ACB for allegedly accepting bribe/undue benefit of Rs 29 lakh from the private firm Welspun.

Sharma and his brother and IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma (now retired) were at loggerheads with the state government when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Sharma had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that he was being victimised by Modi government and sought a CBI inquiry in the cases against him. However, the apex court rejected his application last year.

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