Himachal Pradesh government has dismissed a senior civil judge from the state judicial services on the recommendations of the high court after corruption charges levelled against him were found to be true, a notification issued by the state home department stated. Gaurav Sharma was posted as the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) of Sundernagar in Mandi district when he was caught red-handed while taking Rs 40,000 as bribe from a local resident Ashwani Saini four years ago.
According to the notification issued by the principal secretary (home) on Thursday, all charges against Sharma have been proved in the inquiry conducted by the high court. The court had proposed on July 6, 2017 to hold an inquiry against the suspended ACJM under Rule 14 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965. The inquiry was conducted by the high court, the notification stated.
The court appointed district judge Rakesh Kainthla as the inquiry officer who in his report held Sharma guilty of taking a bribe. As a result of the inquiry, all the charges have been proved and the court has decided to recommend that the punishment of dismissal from service be imposed upon Sharma, the notification added.
Now, therefore, the Governor, Himachal Pradesh having considered the recommendations of the High Court and in exercise of the powers vested in him under Clause (ix) of Rule 11 of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965 and all other powers enabling him in this behalf, hereby orders dismissal of Gaurav Sharma from the Himachal Pradesh Judicial Services with immediate effect, the notification said. According to the inquiry report, two cases filed by Saini pertaining to cheque bounce under section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act were pending in Sharma’s court when he was posted as ACJM Sundernagar in 2017.
Sharma called Saini in his chamber and demanded money from him in lieu of settlement of cases, the report added. Subsequently, Saini lodged a complaint with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.
After the matter was brought to the notice of the high court, a team of 14 officials was formed and Sharma was nabbed from his official residence on January 31, 2017 at around 9 pm, it added. The case under Prevention of Corruption Act against Sharma is still pending before the special judge at Mandi in which evidence will be recorded next month.