Top cop counters govt’s ‘mala fide intention’ charge

Rahul Sharma files rejoinder before CAT.

IPS officer Rahul Sharma has filed a detailed rejoinder before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the allegation that there was malafide intention behind his submitting the CDs containing call records of the 2002 riots period to the Nanavati-Shah commission.

He has said that it was only because of his evidence that the existence of the CDs became public, else it would have died a quiet death.

The 19-page affidavit filed to counter the government's reply before the commission, which is conducting the final hearing of Sharma's petition, also questioned the locus standi of deputy secretary (home) Nikhil Bhatt in filing the reply to Sharma's application before CAT.

The CAT will give its decision on March 14.

Sharma, who was issued a chargesheet in 2011, had contended that he was being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati commission, which is probing the riots.

Even as Sharma sought immunity under section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, which safeguards witnesses from civil and criminal proceedings, the government in its affidavit filed on January 3 tried to delink the chargesheet from Sharma's act of submitting the CDs and argued that the chargesheet cannot amount to either a civil or criminal proceeding.

It was also the government's case that Sharma "volunteered" to give the CDs to the commission with malafide intention to save himself from any criminal or civil action.

Sharma countered this by the government's own admission in his chargesheet of August 12, 2011 which said that no officer knew of the existence of the said CDs. "If nobody, except me, knew of the existence of the CDs, how would I have suffered by not making a statement related to the CDs before the Hon'ble Commission of Inquiry? The fact of the existence of such telephonic records would have died a quiet death with no punitive consequence for me," Sharma said in his reply filed on Tuesday.

Sharma, who was assisting the crime branch in its investigations of the riots in 2002, had collected call records from two mobile phone companies as evidence. These, he gave before the commission in 2004 in two CDs, and later also submitted it to the UC Banerjee commission appointed by the Centre to probe the Sabarmati Express burning. Later, when SIT took over the probe, he submitted an analysis of the call log to amicus curiae Raju Ramchandran.

Sharma, who is posted as DIG, Armed Unit at Vadodara, was recently issued a showcause notice for alleged "irregularities" during his posting as DIG of the SRP unit at Rajkot.

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