Gujarat police arrested suspended bureaucrat Pradeep Sharma – who accused the erstwhile state government with Narendra Modi as the chief minister of snooping on a female architect –over corruption charges on Tuesday.
Sharma’s arrest came a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached his properties in Gandhinagar.
The suspended IAS officer’s name also figured in the so-called snoopgate tapes released in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls by two private portals, which had conversations between Amit Shah, the state home minister at the time, and IPS officer GL Singhal regarding surveillance on a woman in Ahmedabad.
The portals said Shah was heard asking Singhal to track movements of the architect, her family members and also Pradeep Sharma, who was the municipal commissioner of Bhavnagar.
Sharma even, unsuccessfully, appealed to the Supreme Court to order that an FIR be registered against Narendra Modi, who was the Gujarat chief minister at the time, and Amit Shah, in connection with the case.
Sharma is accused of causing a loss of Rs. 1.2 crore to the state exchequer by allotting government land to a Kutch-based industrial unit, Welspun, at throwaway prices during his tenure as the area collector in 2003-04.
The ED seized a piece of land in Dehgam village near Gandhinagar and a portion of Sharma’s bungalow in the state capital under prevention of money laundering act. The agency is now probing whether Sharma’s US-based wife received any undue favours from Welspun as quid pro quo.
Sharma, 59, was suspended by the government in 2010 after he was arrested on corruption charges, but was later granted bail. Last month, the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking a CBI probe in five cases filed against him by the Gujarat government.