Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma arrested: All you should know

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Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma arrested.
Pradeep Sharma, a senior Gujarat bureaucrat, who took on Narendra Modi over the snoopgate case when he was Gujarat chief minister, was on Tuesday arrested in a corruption case. The Enforcement Directorate had earlier seized his properties for alleged money laundering.

Who is Pradeep Sharma?

Pradeep Sharma and his brother and IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma (now retired) were at loggerheads with the erstwhile state government which was headed by Narendra Modi.

The suspended IAS officer's name had also figured in the snoopgate tapes released by two portals, which alleged that a woman was spied upon in Gujarat at the behest of then minister of state for home Amit Shah.

Pradeep, younger brother of Gujarat IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma, claimed that the state government filed false cases against him to harass him as his brother refused to oblige the establishment in covering up cases such as the Sohrabuddin fake killing.

Pradeep Sharma is facing charges of graft while being collector of quake-devastated Bhuj. Seven cases have been filed in this connection against him by the state government.

He had sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged snooping on a woman architect after two news portals released CDs of purported telephonic conversations between the chief minister's close aide Amit Shah.

What are the allegations against Sharma?

Sharma is facing six criminal corruption cases in Gujarat.

This case pertains to 2004, when Sharma was the collector of Kutch.

As per the complaint, Sharma, an IAS officer of 1984 batch, had allegedly allotted land to Welspun at 25 per cent of the prevailing market rates which gave illegal benefits to the company and loss of around Rs 1.2 crore to the state exchequer.

In return for the favour, the company allegedly made Sharma's wife a 30% partner in one of its subsidiaries - Value Packaging - without her having made any investment and extended benefits of Rs29.5 lakhs to her, according to the complaint. "The money was first deposited in the account of Sharma's wife and then transferred to his account," it further said.

Sharma has been booked under Prevention of Corruption Act sections 11 (public servant obtaining valuable gift from person concerned in proceedings or business transacted by such public servant), 13(1)(D) (to obtain valuable things by corrupt or illegal means) and 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant).

What are the officials saying?

"Sharma has been arrested by us under the Prevention of Corruption Act. As per the complaint registered by us on Monday, Sharma allegedly received Rs29 lakh from private firm Welspun.

The amount was first deposited in the account of Sharma's wife, and then transferred to his account," Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) director (in-charge) Ashish Bhatia said.

"This is a case of allegedly taking bribe for extending benefits to a company when he was collector of Kutch," Bhatia said.

"The land in Dehgam is worth Rs 65 to 70 lakh while the bungalow itself is worth Rs 1 crore. We attached the land and 35% of the bungalow to arrive at Rs 1 crore figure to recover the loss," said a senior ED official.

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