Apex court to hear snoopgate only if Modi remarks are removed

The Supreme Court on Friday made it clear to suspended Gujarat IAS officer Pradeep Sharma that it would first verify if he had removed “scurrilous” materials against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi or not from his petition, before examining his plea for CBI probe into alleged snooping on a woman.

The apex court had, on May 12, 2011, asked him to remove certain paragraphs from his petition, which had contained certain allegations against Modi.

A bench of Justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Madan B Lokur said it would first look into whether he had complied with the apex court order or not and put the matter for hearing after two weeks.

Meanwhile, the court rejected Sharma’s plea to order release of his passport for traveling to the United States to meet his family members after Gujarat government opposed his application.

Advocate Prashant  Bhushan, appearing for Sharma, contended that he was hounded and harassed by the state government as the administration felt that he was in possession of some CD involving Modi and the woman. “That is why, five cases were registered against him,” Bhushan said.

“Recently, some tapes of 2009 have surfaced, which were handed over to the CBI by an accused in the Ishrat Jahan case. If conversations are to be believed, the investigation is malafide,” Bhushan said.

The Gujarat government counsel submitted that the case against Sharma was registered on direction by a court while entertaining a private complaint. After registration of the case, he had absconded and found in possession of fake identity cards, which finally led the court to order seizure his passport, he said, adding only the apex court granted him bail after putting restrictions.

After failing to convince the court on his plea for release of passport for going abroad, Bhushan, then, referred to another application filed on November 26, relying upon the 2009 conversation released by two web portals recently.

He said Sharma was victimised and framed in cases for his knowledge of Modi’s alleged “intimacy” with the woman.

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