Ahmedabad, June 24: Corruption was undeniably the sole factor that has effectively arrested the progress of our society, Gujarat High Court observed while rejecting bail plea of IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, arrested in connection with irregularities in land allotment for 2001 earthquake affected persons in Kutch.
“It is the rampant corruption indulged in with impunity by highly placed persons that has led to economic unrest in this country,” Justice J B Pardiwala observed while rejecting Sharma's bail plea yesterday.
“If one is asked to name one sole factor that effectively arrested the progress of our society to prosperity, undeniably it is corruption,” he said.
“If the society in a developing country faces a menace greater than even the one from the hired assassins to its law and order, then that is from the corrupt elements at higher echelons of the Government and of the political parties,” Justice Pardiwala observed in his order.
“Corruption has, in it, very dangerous potentialities. Corruption, a word of wide connotation has, in respect of almost all the spheres of our day to day life, all the world over, the limited meaning of allowing decisions and actions to be influenced not by the rights or wrongs of a case but by the prospects of monetary gains or other selfish considerations,” he said.
According to state CID, Sharma while he was Collector, Kutch district in 2003 joined hands with a Company named Wellspun and, with the sole intention of gaining monetary benefits for himself, allotted huge parcels of lands in favour of the Company.
The land was alloted at a meagre rate of Rs 15 per sq mt, whereas, the actual rate was Rs 78 per sq mt and, thereby had favoured the Company causing loss to the public exchequer and revenue of State to tune of over Rs 1.2 crore, the CID further said.
Sharma in his defence has contended that case against him was tainted with mala fides and to harass him to ‘wreck personal vengeance'.
The court observed, “I am of the opinion that there is a prima facie case against the accused-applicant (Sharma) as set out by the prosecution.”
It also posed a question to the state government about why was nobody from the Company was arrested.
“The question which is haunting the mind of this Court is as to why no action has been taken against the Company in whose favour the parcels of land came to be allotted,” the court observed.
“If the State is so much concerned about the loss of public exchequer or revenue, then why till this date no concrete steps have been taken to recall orders of allotment of land,” it questioned.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, for the government assured the Court that appropriate steps with regard to query raised by the court would be taken. PTI