The Supreme Court (SC) refused on Wednesday to transfer probes in five cases against suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma from Gujarat Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Advocate Sunil Farnandes, appearing for Sharma, had submitted that his client was being targeted by the Gujarat government because his elder brother, a senior Gujarat cadre IPS officer, did not toe the line of state government in many cases.
The state government had refuted all the allegations levelled by Sharma and said that he was himself under surveillance because of various alleged illegal financial transactions.
Sharma is facing five criminal cases including that related to his alleged involvement in a land scam in 2008 in Rajkot area. He approached the apex court seeking transfer of cases against him to CBI.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai had on Tuesday refused to go into the snoopgate controversy at the very beginning of proceedings, however.
The snooping controversy had surfaced in the run-up to the assembly elections late last year after two investigative news websites made public tapes in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aide and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, who was the then Gujarat home minister, was purportedly heard directing the police to put a young woman and a senior IAS officer under surveillance in 2009.
The court had asked Sharma's counsel not to raise the snooping controversy and asked him to confine his arguments only to the point on how the probe done by state police against him is biased.
But, the bench had also made it clear that it is not concerned about personality and dispensation of government at the Centre and it will go only by the rule books.
"We will only go by rule books. Which government comes and which government goes hardly makes a difference to us. But we are making it clear that we won't allow you to raise the issue as you had yourself agreed to delete those paragraphs from your petition (relating snoopgate)," it had said.
"It was a gentleman's word given to the highest court. It must be honoured. We are not concerned about names and personality and change of government," the bench had said, referring to its earlier order directing Sharma to delete insinuations relating to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal life mentioned in his petition.
The bench, at the end of the hearing, had assured Sharma that justice will be done like the apex court has done in various Gujarat cases.
The apex court had on May 12, 2011 taken strong exception to the submissions of Sharma aimed at tarnishing the image of Modi and directed him to delete those paragraphs from the petition.