HC dismisses suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma’s anticipatory bail plea

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has turned down the anticipatory bail plea of suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, who is facing a money laundering case filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED), but extended the stay to his arrest till April 27.

Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma
Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma

Justice Paresh Upadhyaya yesterday dismissed Sharma’s petition, saying that the court was not in a position “to record satisfaction to the effect that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant is not guilty of the offence”.

The court, however, did not go into Sharma’s contention that the state authorities had acted against him with malafide intentions.

Sharma is accused of selling a government land at cheaper rates to Wellspun Group in Kutch district in 2003-2004.

In March 2012, ED registered a case against Sharma under Prevention of Monehy Laundering Act.

As per ED, Sharma alloted land to Wellspun at 25 per cent of the prevailing market rate which caused a loss of around Rs 1.2 crore to the state exchequer.

In return, the company allegedly made Sharma’s wife a 30 per cent partner in one of its subsidiaries, Value Packaging, without any investment on her part, and extended benefits of Rs 29.5 lakh to her, as per the complaint.

The money was transferred to Sharma’s account later, it says, adding that it amounted to an offence under PMLA.

The trial court had rejected his bail plea on February 25.

Sharma contended that the state government and ED were acting vindictively as his brother and Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma was at loggerheads with Gujarat government.