Gujarat officer facing land scam probe may get bail

The Supreme Court Thursday indicated that it may grant bail to Gujarat cadre Indian Administrative Service officer Pradip Sharma, currently in Bhuj jail for his alleged involvement in a land scam.

The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.P. Desai asked Sharma to give an undertaking that he would appear before the trial court as and when required and report to police once a week.

Sharma also gave his consent for his photos and finger prints and other personal details being circulated among immigration authorities at all airports and ports.

The court asked Sharma's counsel I.M. Syed to file the undertaking before Tuesday when the matter was listed for directions.

Before passing the order, the court asked senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Gujarat government, as to what conditions they would like to be imposed in case it decided to grant bail to Sharma.

Court described as "too much" when senior counsel said that Sharma should be asked to report to police station every day. Ranjit Kumar said that a gap of 24 hours was good enough to escape from the country.

When court asked does "he (Sharma) want to become an outlaw", Ranjit Kumar told the court that he had already disposed of his house and his family was living abroad. The court was told that he was planning to go to a Middle East country.

Ranjit Kumar told the court that they had recovered an e-mail in which his wife asked him to leave the country and take asylum.

Sharma is facing prosecution for allegedly giving away 40 acres of land in Bhuj district at low price to a private company when he was the collector of that area.

He denied the allegation and said that the land was allotted to the company after approval from the government.

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