Gujrat govt opposes IPS Rahul Sharma`s petition

Gujarat Government on Thursday opposed the petition of IPS officer Rahul Sharma challenging the charge sheet against him before the CAT.

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Government on Thursday opposed the petition of IPS officer Rahul Sharma, who had provided CDs of phone call records during 2002 riots to Nanavati Commission, challenging the charge sheet against him before the CAT, saying he cannot claim immunity under the Commissions of Inquiry Act (CIA).
State government counsel Bhaskar Tanna opposed Sharma`s petition on the ground that section 6 of CIA provides protection to witness against statements before a commission and not for submission of documents.
Sharma had moved CAT last year claiming he was being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission and providing CDs containing phone call records pertaining to the 2002 riots period.

The IPS officer had also sought full immunity under Section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 from all civil and criminal proceeding except for perjury.

The CAT tribunal bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar today adjourned further hearing on the matter till March 15 as the statement of Sharma`s examination-in-chief by the Nanavati panel was not available in English. The bench also directed the state government to get the statement translated in English by next date.

State government counsel claimed that the CDs provided by Sharma during his deposition before the judicial panel in October 30, 2004 were a form of digital documents, hence the appellant cannot claim protection under the provision of CIA.

Tanna further argued that during the examination in chief by the two-member riot panel, Sharma had not mentioned about the CDs.

It was only during cross-examination by the counsel of Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) that Sharma gave details about the CDs, the state counsel said.

"It cannot be said that Sharma had mentioned about CDs on question asked by Commission therefore there was no protection under section 6 of CIA," Tanna said.

When the bench asked for the copy of Sharma`s examination-in-chief, Tanna said the statement was in Gujarati and need to be translated.

The bench opined that it would be better to proceed further only after reading Sharma`s statement and adjourned the matter till March 15. It has asked Tanna to get the statement translated to English by that date.

The council also argued that Sharma was summoned by the Commission only to record his statement about what he did as Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police to contain riots and not on what he did to assist investigation into the post-Godhra
riot cases as DCP (Control) in Ahmedabad city.

Sharma had approached the CAT in September last year challenging Gujarat government`s charge sheet implicating him for misconduct under section 3(1) of All India Service Rules 1969.

He was charged for not submitting the original CDs containing mobile phone call records related to 2002 communal riots period to the respective investigating officers of riot cases or his supervisory officers or depositing it as case
property when he was transferred from the post.

Sharma has challenged the claims of the government that there was no connection between the inquiry initiated against him and his deposition before the commission.