A special PMLA court today rejected the bail application of suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in a money laundering case investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
A special PMLA court today rejected the bail application of suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in a money laundering case investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The court of special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Judge A C Joshi rejected the bail plea of Sharma, lodged in a jail here since the last one-and-a-half years. Sharma had moved the application citing a recent Supreme Court judgement. The Supreme Court, through its judgement, struck down Section 45 (1) of the PMLA Act as “unconstitutional”. The section imposed certain stringent conditions for securing bail of a person accused of money laundering. The conditions included requiring courts to hear a prosecutor and consider evidence against the accused while deciding on his bail plea. The special court, however, dismissed Sharma’s application, saying his bail pleas had already been rejected by both the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court. In the past, Sharma’s lawyer had submitted that Sharma has been granted regular bail in offences on the basis of which the ED made out the PMLA case against him. Sharma was arrested under the provisions of the PMLA days after the Supreme Court vacated an interim stay on his arrest on July 31 last year. He is lodged at the Sabarmati Central Jail here. The ED registered the offence against Sharma on the basis of cases lodged by Gujarat CID (crime) and the ACB for allegedly sanctioning government land at cheaper rate to Welspun India and its group companies — Welspun Power & Steel and Welspun Gujarat Style Roharan — in Kutch district as part of a suspected quid pro quo.
Sharma sanctioned land to the companies in 2004 when he was the Kutch collector and chairman of the District Land Evaluation and Pricing Committee. The bureaucrat’s move allegedly caused a Rs 1.2 crore loss to the state exchequer. Against this “favour”, he received gain to the tune of Rs 22 lakh in the name of his wife Shyamal Sharma, according to the ED. He allegedly transferred the money to his wife using ‘hawala’ (illegal) channel with the help of five people who also have been named in the ED chargesheet. Rejecting the charges, Sharma had earlier claimed he was being victimised by the BJP government in Gujarat for his knowledge of the alleged illegal surveillance of a woman by government agencies a few years ago.