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.
The former IAS officer, who was the collector of Kutch between 2003 and 2006, faces legal action in nearly a dozen graft cases against him. He was first arrested in January 2010 in a corruption case lodged at CID (crime) Rajkot zone.
A mamlatdar in Gandhidham of Kutch, Bhagirathsinh Jhala filed an FIR on Saturday against Sharma and two others. The 1984-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer was then deputy resident collector of Bhuj and town planner of Bhuj at CID (crime) border zone police station.
“Sharma was detained from Gandhinagar and arrested on Sunday morning,” said deputy superintendent of police, border zone, (CID crime), and the investigating officer, V K Nai. At the time of his arrest, Sharma was out on bail in previous cases.
He has been booked on 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 stated 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 loss to the state exchequer.
The case deals with the land allocation between November 2004 and May 2005 when he was serving as the Kutch collector.
Sharma allegedly entered in a criminal conspiracy with the then resident deputy collector and the Bhuj town planner who have also been named as accused in the case.
In September 2014, Sharma was arrested by the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for receiving a bribe of Rs 29 lakh from a business group. He allegedly allotted a land in 2004 to the group at 25% 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 30% share in one of its subsidiaries without her having made any investment and extended benefits of Rs 29.5 lakh to her.
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