The Gujarat CID on Sunday arrested former IAS officer Pradeep Sharma for allegedly causing loss to the state exchequer by illegally allotting land at an undervalued price in 2004-05 during his tenure as the collector of Kutch district, an official said.
He was remanded to the Crime Investigation Department’s custody for three days by the court of chief judicial magistrate PC Soni. The CID had sought a seven-day remand.
A first information report (FIR) was registered on Saturday against Sharma, a 1984-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, and two others at CID (Crime) border zone police station at Bhuj in Kutch district, Deputy Superintendent of Police (CID Crime) V K Nai said.
“Sharma was detained from Gandhinagar and arrested on Sunday morning,” he said.
At the time of his arrest, Sharma was out on bail in previous cases.
Sharma, who had claimed in the past that he was victimised by the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, was booked on the charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in this fresh case of allotment of land at Chudva village in Gandhidham taluka of Kutch district.
The FIR says that he allotted the government land allegedly at a much lower price by misusing his power as the collector and ignoring the government’s provisions of determining valuation, thereby causing a loss to the state exchequer.
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The case deals with the land allocation between November 2004 and May 2005.
Sharma allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then resident deputy collector and the Bhuj town planner who were also named as accused in the case, it says.
Sharma, who was the collector of Kutch between 2003 and 2006, has several cases of corruption against him and was also arrested in a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
In September 2014, Sharma was arrested by the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the charge of receiving a bribe of Rs 29 lakh from a business group.
As per the complaint, he had allotted land in 2004 to the group at 25 per cent of the prevailing market rate, which resulted in a loss of around Rs 1.2 crore to the state exchequer. In return, the company allegedly gave Sharma’s wife a 30 per cent share in one of its subsidiaries without her having made any investment and extended benefits of Rs 29.5 lakh to her.
The Supreme Court had earlier rejected his application for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the cases against him.
Sharma’s name had figured in the so-called snoopgate tapes released in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by two private portals which claimed surveillance on a woman architect in Ahmedabad.