Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma seeks anticipatory bail

Ahmedabad: A special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases is set to conduct further hearing on suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma’s plea seeking anticipatory bail on February 19.

After hearing Sharma’s arguments, Principal District Judge S C Srivastav fixed February 19 as the next date to hear the case.

As per his submission before the court, Sharma expressed fears that he might be arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) despite giving his full co-operation to the agency and also giving his statements.

In March 2012, ED had registered a case against Sharma under PMLA for allegedly selling government land at a cheaper rate to Kutch-based Welspun Group when he was the Collector of Kutch during 2003-04.

According to the case, Sharma allegedly misused his powers as Collector and extended benefits to Welspun by selling land at a much cheaper rate, which resulted in a loss of Rs 1 crore to Gujarat government.

Besides ED, Gujarat state CID-Crime as well as Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had filed seperate FIRs against Sharma in connection with the same case earlier.

Sharma was arrested by ACB on September 30, 2014, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 29 lakh from a private company when he was the Collector of Kutch.

Recently, Sharma was released from jail after a Bhuj-based local court granted him conditional bail in that graft case on January 29 this year. After getting bail, he filed a plea seeking anticipatory bail before the PMLA court on February 9.

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