Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HC refuses bail to Pradeep Sharma

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Wednesday refused bail to suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in two cases related to land allotment to private firms in Varsamedi village of Kutch district.

Justice J B Pardiwala refused to release the former Kutch collector on regular bail, but issued directions that the prosecuting agency would frame charges against Sharma within 15 days and the lower court would commence trial soon in these two cases lodged by CID (crime) last year. The high court also directed the trial court to preferably complete the trial by the end of this year.

However, Sharma's counsel requested to stay the order of speedy trial on the ground that Sharma has already approached the Supreme Court demanding shifting of trial in all cases against him outside Gujarat. The apex court has even issued notices to concerned parties in this regard. The counsel contended that if trial commences against Sharma, his petition in the SC would become infructuous.

Upon hearing this argument, justice Pardiwala stayed his order of quick trial till July 30.

Sharma has been booked in various cases. He was given bail by SC in the first offence registered against him in connection with the alleged Bhuj market yard scam.

Meanwhile, the high court also granted interim relief to Sharma in connection with an FIR lodged in Rajkot district, wherein he cancelled a land allotment order in Tankara town passed by a deputy collector. Seeking quashing of the FIR, Sharma's counsel argued that Sharma's order was later set aside by the appellate authority in the revenue department, and the issue is now pending before the high court.

The high court observed that no criminal offence is seen prima facie in this case, and restrained the police from taking any step against Sharma in this case until further orders.

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