Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma sent to judicial custody

 A court here today remanded the suspended Gujarat-cadre IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, arrested in a corruption case, in judicial custody.

Bhuj: A court here today remanded the suspended Gujarat-cadre IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, arrested in a corruption case, in judicial custody.

Sharma was sent to Palara special jail after additional district judge J B Dhadhal rejected the demand of anti-corruption bureau for his further custody.

While seeking further remand for seven days, ACB lawyer said Sharma had not been cooperating with the probe, and had not revealed anything, particularly about a controversial land deal at Kidana in the district.

Sharma's lawyer advocate Ratnakar Dholakia opposed ACB's demand, saying that his client had obtained a stay from the High Court to the probe into this deal and the lower court can not overrule this decision.

After hearing arguments of both the sides, the court remanded Sharma in judicial custody for 14 days. It also scheduled hearing on Sharma's bail application on October 7.

The application says that he has been framed by the Gujarat government with malafide intentions, because he and his brother (IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma) were vocal critics of the state government.

Gujarat ACB arrested Sharma on September 30 on the charge of receiving a bribe Rs 29 lakh from Welspun, a private firm.

According to ACB, Sharma, as the Kutch collector, alloted a piece of land to Welspun at a rate which was 25 per cent of the market rate, causing a loss of Rs 1.2 crore to the state exchequer.

In return, Sharma's wife got 30 per cent partnership in Value Packaging, one of the subsidiaries of Welspun, and extended a benefit of Rs 29.5 lakh to her, the ACB says.

Sharma, who is facing five corruption cases, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that he was being victimised by the erstwhile Narendra Modi government in Gujarat and CBI should probe the cases against him.

The apex court however rejected his petition last month.

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