New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday issued notice to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on a petition by a Gujarat cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Pradeep Kumar Sharma, seeking a CBI probe into the cases against him and transfer of the trial outside the state.
The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.M. Lodha issued the notice to Modi and Gujarat government after it was told that five cases were slapped against Sharma at the behest of Modi in pursuance of political vendetta.
The notice was issued after senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Sharma, agreed to withdraw certain allegations which were of very personal nature.
Gonsalves gave the undertaking withdrawing the personal allegations after Justice R.M. Lodha told him that 'character assassination is not permitted. Are you relying on these allegations. You can't do that. These are serious allegations'.
The court's observation came after senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani appearing for Modi told the court that 'these (personal allegations) are reckless and frivolous allegations. The purpose is to malign the chief minister. There are serious insinuations and innuendos against the chief minister. These allegations can't be allowed to stand.'
Sharma alleged that the chief minister has directed his ire at him because his brother Kuldip Sharma, who happens to be the seniormost Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in Gujarat, was instrumental as head of the state CID in cracking the Sohrabuddin staged killing case, among other cases.
Pradeep Sharma said that at the instance of Modi, the Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) of his IPS brother were down-graded in order to deny him promotion to next higher post. He said this was done in contravention of rules and without assigning any reason. These ACRs were set aside by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) by its judgment of April 7, 2011.
Pradeep Sharma alleged that he was being 'harassed by the Chief Minister in order to settle personal scores with Kuldip Sharma' and the state machinery was being 'abused' by Modi and former minister of state for home Amit shah.
He said that Modi trained his guns on him after the chief minister apprehended that a video on his personal relations was in his possession. He said that his house was raided by police in search of that video. The petition alleged that he suspected that his mobile phone was being intercepted by the authorities at the instance of the chief minister.
At this, Justice Alam asked the senior counsel: 'How do you say that raids in your house were in connection with the search for the video? The search could be in connection with cases also. It is a different matter that nothing was found in the searches.'
Justice Lodha asked the senior counsel: 'You first prima facie show that there is a bias against you.' He asked what was the stage of the five cases against him.
The court was told that in one case investigation was over and the chargesheet has been filed. In other four cases, the investigation is in progress.
As the court wanted to know why the petition has moved in the apex court and not gone to the high court, the senior counsel Gonsalves said: 'Two very high constitutional functionaries are involved against him. That is why I have come here.'