Counsel to seek CBI investigation into snooping episode in Gujarat

The Supreme Court has posted for final hearing on December 6 a petition filed by suspended Gujarat IAS officer Pradeep N. Sharma, seeking a CBI probe into the five cases pending against him and transfer of the trial outside the State.

The court earlier issued notice to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat government and the CBI on Mr. Sharma’s petition.

During the resumed hearing on Tuesday before a Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, counsel for the petitioner Prashant Bhushan, referring to the recent ‘snooping of the telephone incident posted on a website,’ said there were some serious developments and the matter should be decided expeditiously. (It was alleged that the State police had in 2009 illegally monitored the movements of a young woman on the instructions of the then Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah.)

Additional Advocate-General for Gujarat Tushar Mehta said since pleadings had been completed the matter could be listed for final disposal.

Later, Mr. Bhushan told reporters that he would file an application seeking a CBI probe into the snooping incident for, the same officer was also affected by the charge.

The petitioner submitted that he had been targeted since January 2010 and five cases registered against him as he happened to be the younger brother of Kuldip Sharma, seniormost IPS officer in Gujarat, who functioned as Additional Director-General of Police.

The petitioner said Mr. Kuldip Sharma was targeted by the State government as he did not abide by the “illegal instructions” of the Chief Minister and Mr. Amit Shah. The Chief Minister downgraded his ACRs (annual confidential reports) with intent to deny him promotion to the next higher rank. In the last years, at least three outstanding ACRs are required to qualify for promotion.

The petitioner said all cases had been registered at the behest of the Chief Minister to falsely implicate him, persecute him and deprive him of personal life and liberty. Mr. Pradeep Sharma said there was a misplaced apprehension in Mr. Modi’s mind that he was the recipient of an allegedly existing VCD involving the Chief Minister. He was in no way connected with its alleged existence.

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