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ED Arrests Suspended IAS Officer Pradeep Sharma in Money Laundering Case

Press Trust of India

Last Updated: August 01, 2016, 00:31 IST

Suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Pradeep Sharma (Getty Images)

Suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Pradeep Sharma (Getty Images)

Sharma was summoned to the ED office on Saturday to record his statement.

Ahmedabad: The Enforcement Directorate on Sunday arrested suspended Gujarat-cadre IAS officer Pradeep Sharma in connection with a money laundering case after he "failed" to reveal the "true facts" regarding the accounts maintained abroad by him or his family members.

The 1984-batch IAS officer was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, following two FIRs filed against him in March and September 2010, days after the Supreme Court vacated the interim stay on his arrest.

The agency claimed that Sharma was not cooperating with the investigators and that his custodial interrogation was necessary.

Sharma was summoned to the ED office on Saturday to record his statement.

"But in his statement he again gave evasive replies and didn't reveal the true facts regarding the accounts maintained abroad and transactions that had taken place in the accounts maintained by him or his family members, necessitating his arrest," the ED said.

The agency said that "given the way Sharma behaved with the investigating officer suggested that he was actually involved in money laundering as defined in section 3 of PMLA, 2002 and punishable under section 4 of the Act."

The case pertains to the sanction of government land in Bhuj for industrial use to Ms Welspun India Limited and its group companies, Welspun Power and Steel and Welspun Gujarat Style Roharan, as part of a suspected quid pro quo.

Sharma sanctioned land to the company in 2004 when he was the collector and chairman of the District Land Evaluation and Pricing Committee, which allegedly caused loss to the government exchequer to the tune of Rs 1.2 crore.

"Against this favour, he has received gain to the tune of Rs 22 lakh in the name of his wife Shyamal P Sharma within a short period of 15 months by just investing Rs 1 lakh (in January 2008) in one Ms Value Packaging," the ED probe report said.

The agency alleged that Sharma had remained evasive during questioning in the past as well.

Sharma was earlier arrested by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in September 2014 in connection with a corruption case when he was Bhavnagar Municipal Commissioner.

He had approached the Supreme Court in 2013 seeking taking cognisance of audio tapes related to alleged illegal snooping of a young woman architect under then Narendra Modi government in the state.

Two investigative news portals had claimed on November 15, 2013 that a senior BJP leader had ordered illegal surveillance of the woman at the behest of one "Saheb".

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    In his petition before the apex court, Sharma had alleged victimisation by the then Modi government, and had sought a CBI inquiry into the cases against him.

    However, the Supreme Court had rejected his application.

    first published:August 01, 2016, 00:31 IST
    last updated:August 01, 2016, 00:31 IST