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ED files charge sheet against suspended Guj IAS officer

Ahmedabad: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today filed a charge sheet against suspended IAS officer, Pradeep Sharma in a money laundering case.

Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma
Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma

The charge sheet was filed in the special PMLA court of Principal District and Session Judge A C Joshi.

The central agency charged the Gujarat-cadre officer under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In a statement, the ED said it had attached Sharma’s properties worth Rs 1.22 crore yesterday.

“Pradeep N Sharma has invested huge amounts in immovable properties as well as transferred outside the country proceeds of crime received or collected by him or his conduit,” it said.

“His acts of omission and commission are specified as schedule offences, which are liable for confiscation. Accordingly, prosecution complaint under section 45 of PMLA is filed before the principal district and session judge, Ahmedabad (rural), also special PMLA court, by this Directorate,” it said.

“The ED had initiated investigation against Pradeep Sharma, a Gujarat cadre IAS officer under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002. Sharma, the then district collector, Bhuj had abused his power by allotting land to Welspun at lower rate and thereby causing loss to the exchequer,” the ED said.

Sharma was arrested by ED on July 31, a few days after the Supreme Court vacated an interim relief granted to him, and is at present under judicial custody at Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad.

The agency alleged that Sharma had sanctioned giving of government land in Bhuj, when he was collector of Kutch district, for industrial use to Ms Welspun India Limited and its group companies, Welspun Power and Steel and Welspun Gujarat Style Roharan, as part of a suspected quid pro quo.

Sharma sanctioned land to the company in 2004 when he was the collector and chairman of the District Land Evaluation and Pricing Committee, which allegedly caused loss to the government exchequer to the tune of Rs 1.2 crore.

Against this favour he had received gain to the tune of Rs 22 lakh in the name of his wife Shyamal Sharma, the ED alleged.

Sharma had earlier filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that he was victimised by the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat and had sought a CBI inquiry into the cases against him. The apex court had, however, rejected his application.



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