Are Modi bashers just hollow products of media hype?

Are Modi bashers just hollow products of media hype?
Ahmedabad, 13 May, 2011

It seems those making allegations against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi are just the products of media hype. While those opposing Modi are painted as Saint in section of vocal media, when those ‘saints’ actually go to court, their allegations just don’t stand.

So we saw what happened in Sanjiv Bhatt case. His allegations were hyped on slots worth crores of rupees on TV channels in prime time. But the Supreme Court just put his so much hyped affidavit aside, and didn’t take cognizance at all for a time.

And what happened to Mr. Satish Verma’s plea yesterday in Gujarat High Court? Verma wanted court’s intervention to prevent state government’s possible action against him in Porbandar’s RDX landing case citing biased approach. However the court denied any help.

What happened to those allegations against Narendra Modi in connection with Godhra and post Godhra riots? While Nanavati commission has cleared Modi in Godhra case, the SIT also didn’t find anything against Modi in its first report on post-Godhra riot(according to leaked version published in section of media).

And in latest development, yesterday the Supreme Court lambasted suspended IAS Pradip Sharma and Sharma’s lawyer had to withdraw certain allegations which were of very personal nature against Narendra Modi.

Sharma’s counsel Colin Gonsalves( who was defending lawyer of Godhra train accused) had to withdraw certain allegations against Modi which were of very personal nature. Gonsalves had to give the undertaking withdrawing the personal allegations against Narendra Modi after Justice R.M. Lodha told him that “character assassination is not permitted. Are you relying on these allegations. You can’t do that. These are serious allegations”.

Presented below is more detail on Pradeep Sharma and the cases he’s facing

-Shri Pradeep Sharma, born on 5th June 1955 is a Gujarat Administrative Service (GAS) officer, who was nominated to the IAS and allotted 1994 batch. While he was posted as Collector in Kutch and Rajkot, he had committed number of irregularities involving crores of Rupees. He has been indulging in corrupt practices of criminal nature. He was arrested by the CID crime while he was posted as Municipal Commissioner, Bhavnagar. The case history of the offence committed is as under;

-Late Shri Arvindbhai Hirji Thakkar was the President of Bhuj Grain and Seeds Wholesale Market Association and also the Chairman of Bhuj Commercial Cooperative Bank Ltd.

-He formed a trust on 26th November, 2001 for the rehabilitation of earthquake affected businessmen and traders. The name of the trust is “The Bhuj Bazaar Navnirman Charitable Trust. The said trust demanded 17 acre land of Survey No. 363 of Bhujiya Dungar Taleti for the rehabilitation of the earthquake affected businessmen.

-Bhuj Navnirman Charitable Trust (referred to as “Trust” hereinafter) had applied to the State Government for allotment of land for construction of Wholesale market in Bhuj (Kutch) for the earthquake affected shop Keepers/ businessmen/ commission agents. Considering the Trust’s demand for the earthquake affected persons, the State Government had allotted land admeasuring 17 acre of Bhuj survey No. 363 vide Government Notification No. JMN-5601-2686-A dated 03-09-2002 laying down clear terms and conditions for allotment of this land to the earthquake affected business persons. The Collector was mandated to give the required certificate to each beneficiary certifying his eligibility for the plot to be allotted.

-The specific terms and conditions for the allotment of land to the affected businessmen were as under:-

i.) Total 550 to 600 persons were to be benefited by this construction.

ii.) As per the bylaws of the said Trust, the businesspersons doing business in the periphery of 5 km of Bhuj City only would be eligible to be members of the Trust.

iii.) 200 Sq. meter of land for Office/ Godown and 50 sq m of land to the brokers would be allotted.

iv.) Ancillary services had to be generated from the said land.

v.) The land was to be allotted for the purpose of government approved
businesses only.

vi.) Such beneficiaries can not rent or sale the said plots allotted under this order.

vii.) Construction should be carried out according to the prevailing Rules.

viii.) No Objection Certificate should be obtained from Military Authority.

-The then Collector Shri Pradeep Sharma was required to verify the factuality about the Members of the Trust before allotting the land to the trust. The Collector was required to issue the certificate after due factual verification. He was to ensure that only the earthquake affected people were benefited from this land allotment.

-During the allotment of said plots, lots of allegations were made against Shri Pradeep Sharma in the form of private complaints/applications. In all 106 complaints/ applications were received in the office of collector Bhuj from December,2005 to January, 2009 regarding the irregularities and corruption in the allotment of the said land.

-The All India Anti-Corruption and Crime Preventive Council, Bhuj purported to be an institution to fight corruption filed a complaint before the police alleging various irregularities in allotment of land to bogus and undeserving beneficiaries in 2004.

-The police inquired into the matter and found some truth but did not file FIR. No sincere efforts were made by the Collector, Bhuj during his tenure to look into the matter because he himself was involved into it. The All India Anti Corruption and Crime Preventive Council filed a complaint in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court at Bhuj. Meanwhile one Narendra Kumar Mansukhlal Mehta filed a Petition in the High Court being Special C.A. No. 14703/06.

-On the basis of the complaint filed in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court, Bhuj, the Chief Judicial Magistrate issued order on 5.11.2007 to file the case in CID and accordingly CID Crime, Rajkot registered an offence as Case Register No. 1/ 2008 under Sections 206, 217, 465, 466, 468, 471, 472, 474, 475, 484 and 120-B of the IPC. Another case was in progress in the Collector’s Office bearing Case No. JMN/2/LCC 79-A Case No. 1/2006. The Collector gave his judgment on 25th March, 2009. In this order, complaints by 12 applicants on 18 points were deliberated and some irregularities were observed in the allotment of plots to the businessmen. In this order, Collector Kutch had cancelled allotment of around 85 plots. Because of the said cancellation of allotment of 85 plots, the beneficiaries had gone to Secretary (Appeals). On the other hand, those who were deprived of the plots had also approached the High Court.

-Since the case registered with the CID Crime was not progressing, a petition was filed in the Gujarat High Court. During the hearing Advocate General had pleaded that the Collector was looking into the matter. Till then, this matter should not be pressed for and the complainant also consented to these pleadings.

-As Collector gave its judgment on 25th March, 2009 the applicants asked for further investigation by CID. However, a petition has been made in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate by the opponents to dismiss the said demand of the complainant which was rejected.

-In the investigations by the CID Crime, it was observed that the said trust headed by Late Arvindbhai Hirji Thakkar had availed 60% subsidy on the loan. But only 11 beneficiaries were actually eligible for such subsidy and rest of the beneficiaries had fraudulently obtained this benefit. The Dy. Collector (I/c Earthquake) had verified the certificates issued to the earthquake affected beneficiaries and submitted his report on 10th October, 2006. In this report, 401 cases were found where wrong certificates were issued.

-In these circumstances, the CID Crime came to the finding that there was enough evidence against the accused persons and officials who were
responsible for this fraud and irregularities thereby causing financial loss etc to the Government.

-Since the case involved gross irregularities, fraudulently benefiting undeserving bogus beneficiaries and deprivation of the real earthquake affected shopkeepers and as the value of the land was about 70 crore, it was found fit case to prosecute the accused.

-Hence, appropriate permission was sought under Section 197 of CrPC by CID to arrest and prosecute the then Collector Shri Pradeep Sharma and other accused involved in this scam. The sanction for prosecution was also granted by the Government of Gujarat, leading to his arrest on 6th January, 2010. The bail of Shri Pradeep Sharma was rejected by the Sessions Court and the High Court.

-It is reported that a criminal case was registered by the General Manager of District Industries Centre, Kutch that fraud had been committed by traders in claiming subsidy under earthquake relief and had availed loan from Banks on such irregular allotments of shops/ godowns.

-Since the brother of the then Collector Shri Pradeep Sharma namely Shri Kuldeep Sharma was an IPS Officer the case was filed as “C” summery case and the investigation was closed.

-Shri Kuldeep Sharma IPS has been active in providing wrong, misleading and prejudiced information to the CBI conducting investigation in the Sohrabuddin encounter case and it is alleged that he even went along with one CBI officer to Udaipur for recording of statement of some of the witnesses.

-The other irregularities carried out by Shri Pradeep Sharma in allotment of land were also reported by a number of private complainants, an important complainant amongst them being Shri Arvind B. Gadhvi who pointed out irregularities in allotment of land to Well Spun Company through his applications dated December, 2008, February, 2009 and April, 2009. On inquiry it was found that Shri Pradeep Sharma, in connivance with the town planner Bhuj had misused his power and created fake documents to allot land to the said company at a rate much lower than the rate fixed by the revenue department of the Government of Gujarat, thereby causing huge revenue loss to the government exchequer. In this connection, an offence was registered against Shri Pradeep Sharma vide Rajkot Zone Police Station CRI No. 9/10 under sections 217,406,468,471, 120B of IPC in August, 2010.The accused was arrested on 14th February, 2011 and his bail application was rejected by Hon’ble Sessions court. It is also worthwhile to note that the said Wellspun Company had paid amount, running into lakhs of rupees towards the mobile phone bill expenses of Shri Pradeep Sharma. In this connection, a separate offence of Rajkot Zone Police Station CRI No. 3/2010 was registered against Shri Pradeep Sharma under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.During inquiry it was also found that wife of Shri Pradeep Sharma was a partner in a corrugated box manufacturing company by the name “Value Packaging “, which used to supply corrugated boxes to the Well spun Company. In one single financial year, a turnover of more than 6 crore rupees took place between “Value Packaging unit and Wellspun Company, thus establishing the links between Shri Pradeep Sharma and Wellspun Company.

-A private complainant, Shri Arvind B Gadhvi through an application made in October, 2007 pointed out irregularities committed by Shri Pradeep Sharma in allotting 41698 square meters land through different orders to Saw Pipes Private Limited Company, flouting all the rules and regulations of the Government in this regard and causing huge financial loss to the exchequer. After due inquiry, a complaint was registered against Shri Pradeep Sharma in CID Crime Rajkot Zone police station 1st CR No. 1/ 2011 under section 217,409 and 120B of the IPC. The accused was arrested on 4/3/2011 and his bail application was rejected by the Sessions Court. The accused is in judicial custody since then.

-In his application dated April, 2009 Shri Arvind B. Gadhvi had also pointed out the irregularities carried out by Shri Pradeep Sharma in handing over government land to the builders, thereby causing huge financial losses to the Government exchequer. Similar irregularities were noticed in the allotment of land at Rapar, Bhachau and Anjaar town area. The inquiry in the said matter is still pending.

-In the year 1970, 65 acres of land of Survey No.2 at Anandpur, taluka Tankara, District Rajkot was allotted under Santhani to family members of Shri D. J. Mehta. Since the family members were staying abroad and the conditions of Santhani were found to be violated and also since maximum only 16 acres of land could be allotted under Santhani, the then deputy collector of Morbi ordered the said land to be taken in government possession vide order dated 16/3/2000. The said order of the Deputy Collector was cancelled by the then collector Shri Pradeep Sharma, through his order dated 26/3/2008. It is important here to note that Shri Pradeep Sharma’s transfer order had come on 24/3/2008 and the said order of the Deputy Collector was cancelled by him condoning the delay of seven long years. In this connection, allegations were made by way of filing PIL in the Gujarat High Court in December, 2008 by an applicant named Shri Bharat Laljibhai Solanki, a resident of Rajkot. In December 2009, Shri Bharat Laljibhai Solanki also approached the JMFC, Morbi to take appropriate action against Shri Pradeep Sharma. In the meantime, the Government of Gujarat also got inquiry conducted in the said matter through Shri A. M. Tiwari, Secretary to the Government of Gujarat and found him guilty. Further inquiry in the said case is still going on by the State CID Crime.

-Pradeep Sharma was rearrested from Delhi on 14.2.2011 in Wellspun case. During investigation it was found that he was staying in hotel known as Southern Regency, Karol Baug, New Delhi under the name of Pramjit Singh Sandhu. The Hotel Management has given proof regarding the petitioner having stayed in the name of Paramjit. A copy of the driving license appeared to have been issued on 7th January, 2010 was given by the petitioner to the Hotel management. These documents were obtained and a letter of request was sent to the Deputy Transport Officer Mogha, State of Punjab to verify the authenticity of the driving license. On verification, the District Transport Officer, Mogha informed that the license was a fake one. It is also pertinent to note that on 7th January, 2010 i.e. the alleged date of issue of license, the petitioner was in judicial custody in connection with the offence registered against him being M. Case No. 1/2008. A photostat copy was obtained from the Hotel from where the petitioner was arrested and the original photo of the petitioner were sent to FSL for analysis and the Director of FSL prima facie opined the two photos to be identical and had asked for the original photographs to give conclusive opinion as to whether the photos are of the same person or not.

-It appears that Pradeep Sharma was trying to make fake passport and was also trying to dispose-off the properties and send money through hawala transactions to USA where all his family members except him are staying.

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