CAT relief for Gujarat IPS officer Rahul Sharma

Ahmedabad: Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled that IPS officer Rahul Sharma was charge-sheeted with regard to missing CD of phone-call records relating to the 2002 riots period only on the basis of his deposition before the Nanavati Commission. CAT has also stayed the proceedings against Sharma.

It said in the order pronounced yesterday that Sharma enjoys immunity under section 6 of Commission of Inquiry Act. The section provides protection from prosecution to the witnesses with regard to statements made before a commission. The Tribunal bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar yesterday admitted Sharma`s petition challenging the charge-sheet, and stayed all proceedings against him.

The CAT also issued a notice to the state government, seeking reply to the IPS officer`s petition within two weeks. Sharma is to file rejoinder within a week thereafter, and next hearing will be on April 27. "The admitted position is that Government of Gujarat came to know about the said CD when the counsel of the government in the (Nanavati) Commission made the government aware of the existence of such CD," the bench noted.

Therefore, the statement of the applicant (Sharma) before the Commission was the basis of preliminary inquiry as well as framing of all the charges against him, CAT held. Sharma`s case is that he is being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission which is probing post-Godhra riot cases.