Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma gets bail in graft case

Bhuj (Guj): A court here today granted bail to suspended IAS officer and former Kutch collector Pradeep Sharma in a case filed against him by the anti corruption bureau of the Gujarat police.

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Additional district judge J B Dhandhal granted bail to Sharma on a surety bond of Rs 50,000, with a condition that he would not enter the Kutch district for six months.

He shall also not leave Gujarat during this period and submit his passport to the police, said the court.

Sharma had sought bail last week on the ground that investigation in the case was over.

His lawyer Bharat Dholakiya argued that ACB had acted with malafide intention against his client while prosecutor Kalpesh Goswami had opposed the plea, stating that Sharma might tamper with the evidence if granted bail.

Sharma was arrested by ACB on September 30 last year for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 29 lakh from a private company when he was the collector of Kutch in 2004.

According to the complaint, he alloted a piece of land to Wellspun Group at 25 per cent of prevailing market rate, causing a loss of Rs 1.2 crore to Gujarat government.

In return, the company allegedly made Sharma’s wife a 30 per cent partner in its subsidiary ‘Value Packaging’ and extended her a benefit of Rs 29.5 lakh, said the complaint.

Sharma, who is facing five corruption cases, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging he was being victimised by the state government and had sought a CBI inquiry in these cases. However, last month the apex court rejected the application.

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