‘Hounded’ Gujarat cop wants out

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  • Published 22.11.14

Ahmedabad, Nov. 21: Rahul Sharma, one of the few police officers who enforced peace during the 2002 Gujarat riots and whose efforts led to the arrest of a former minister close to Narendra Modi, has applied for early retirement.

Sharma, a 1992 batch IPS officer, has cited personal reasons while giving the mandatory three-month notice on Wednesday. He told The Telegraph: “My decision is not prompted by the fact that I was denied promotion. I am not taking it in a negative way. I can live with it, these things do not matter to me.”

Posted as deputy inspector-general, armed units, at Vadodara, Sharma was passed up for a promotion last year.

His request for a transfer to any post in Ahmedabad or Gandhinagar to be with his teenage son and ailing mother after his wife’s death in August 2013 was rejected. Sharma’s wife had died of dengue. A request for extension of leave or leave without pay till June 2015, to help his son who is in Class XII with his studies, was also rejected.

Sharma, who had gone on leave after his wife’s death, was told by his seniors that if he did not report for duty, he would face suspension after which he would not be able to apply for early retirement.

A senior IPS officer and a close friend said Sharma, a graduate of IIT Kanpur, had been contemplating retirement for some time and had told him he would apply for it if he did not get leave. “As it is, he sees a dead end to his career,” said the friend.

In February 2002, when the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at Godhra, Sharma had just taken over as Bhavnagar superintendent. But he ensured that peace was maintained in the district during the riots that killed at least 1,000 people across Gujarat.

He was soon shunted out of Bhavnagar to the low-profile post of deputy commissioner, Ahmedabad police control room. Here, asked to assist in the riot probe, the officer procured mobile phone call details that implicated many and led to the arrest in 2009 of Maya Kodnani, a former minister seen to be close to then chief minister Modi.

In 2011, the Gujarat government chargesheeted Sharma, accusing him of not submitting the CD with the call details of the 2002 riots to investigating authorities. Sharma claims he did. Subsequently, six show cause notices were issued to Sharma.

The officer moved the Central Administrative Tribunal against the chargesheet and challenged the showcause notices, accusing the state of bias. The matter is pending.

Sources said since 2002, Sharma had been constantly harassed. “It was becoming too much for him.” Home minister Rajnibhai Patel and home secretary G.R. Aloria said they had “not received any application from Sharma”.