Another land dispute: Former collector of Kutch, Pradip Sharma, arrested after former official close to him


Another case of land dispute has come to the fore which has added to the trouble of former collector of Kutch, Pradip Sharma. After Pradip Sharma, an ex-officer involved in land scam near Gandhidham has been arrested. Bhuj Court has granted his remand till 15th 12 noon.

According to the information received in this regard, Francis Suvera, former resident deputy collector of Kutch, has been arrested. CID Crime detained him from his residence in Ahmedabad. Today, CID sought a 3-day remand in Bhuj court.

Earlier, Gujarat CID had arrested former IAS officer Pradeep Sharma on Sunday. Sharma is accused of illegally allotting land during his tenure (2004-05) as Collector of Kutch district, causing loss to the government exchequer.

Sharma had in the past claimed that he was harassed by the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat. A case of breach of trust and criminal conspiracy has been filed against him in this latest case of land allotment in Chudwa village of Gandhidham taluk of Kutch district.

The FIR states that he misused his powers as collector, bypassed government provisions for fixing assessment and allegedly allotted government land at a very low price, causing loss to the state exchequer. This land allotment case is between November 2004 to May 2005.

It said Sharma allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then resident deputy collector and Bhuj town planner, who have been named as accused in the case. Sharma, who was the Collector of Kutch between 2003 and 2006, has several corruption cases registered against him and was also arrested in a money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In September 2014, Sharma was booked by the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly receiving Rs. 29 lakh was arrested for taking bribe. According to the complaint, it had allotted land to a group in 2004 at 25 percent of the prevailing market rate, costing the state exchequer around Rs. 1.2 crore was lost.

In return, the company allegedly gave Sharma’s wife a 30 percent stake in one of its subsidiaries without any investment and gave her a profit of Rs 29.5 lakh. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected her plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the cases registered against her.

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