New Delhi, Jan 17 :
The Supreme Court Friday declined a plea by a Gujarat cadre IAS officer Pradeep Sharma for the court’s nod to travel abroad to meet his family who are American citizens.
Sharma had alleged he was being targeted by the state administration over a CD row.
Counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for Sharma told the bench of Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Madan B. Lokur that his client had filed two applications – one seeking the court’s permission to travel abroad and the second, an independent probe into the CD that allegedly exposes the top political links of the woman who was later snooped by the Gujarat administration on instructions from ‘the top’.
As Bhushan mentioned the application for travelling abroad as the IAS officer’s wife and child were American citizens, Gujarat’s Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta told the court there was an apex court order restraining Sharma from leaving the country. He said Sharma was allegedly staying in Delhi incognito and trying to get a fake passport to flee the country.
As the court perused the order, Justice Desai said it would be difficult to waive off this order. The question of waiving off this order and allowing him to go abroad seems to be difficult, the court said declining the application.
Bhushan said Sharma became an IAS officer in 1981 and for 29 years had an unblemished service record but suddenly in 2010 the Gujarat government started targeting him and five cases were registered against him one after the other.
The court was told the state administration started targeting Sharma following the apprehension that he was in the know of the CD that exposed the top political connections of the woman who was later snooped.
The court was told the second reason was that Sharma’s brother, Kuldeep, a senior IPS officer in Gujarat, earned the displeasure of the state administration for not carrying out an illegal order.
As Bhushan mentioned the second application seeking an independent probe into the controversial CD, senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the state government, told the court the petitioner had not deleted 10 paragraphs from the original petition the court felt were scurrilous.
Bhushan told the court that those paragraphs were dropped but the gist retained as it was the basis of the first ground of mala fide intention of the Gujarat administration towards Sharma.
Sharma had earlier filed a criminal defamation case in an Ahmedabad court against editor and columnist Madhu Kishwar, alleging she tried to tarnish his image in the snooping scandal.
The case is about Kishwar’s comments on Twitter and television channels which Sharma alleges were derogatory to him regarding the surveillance of a young woman allegedly ordered by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s trusted aide Amit Shah.
The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks saying that it would check the records.