New Delhi: Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma on Saturday putNarendra Modi right at the centre of the raging controversy over Gujarat government's purported illegal surveillance on a woman by telling the Supreme Court that the young architect was subjected to hostile and intense scrutiny because the Gujarat CM was enamoured by her.
In his petition to the SC seeking a CBI probe into the alleged violation of the woman's right to privacy and the Indian Telegraph Act by Modi and his political aide Amit Shah, Sharma has alleged that he was suspended and framed in half a dozen cases between 2010 and 2012 because of Modi's suspicion that he knew about the VCD.
"There was also widespread rumours regarding the video compact disc (VCD) featuring the said female architect and a man in compromising position ...", he said.
Sharma said that he had no concern with the VCD but he got at the receiving end of the government because of apprehension that he had information regarding it.
Modi "harboured a totally misconceived apprehension that the applicant (Sharma) herein is recipient of the information regarding this VCD, the contents of which, if disclosed in public, would be detrimental to the carefully constructed and publicized image of the Respondent No.3 (Modi)" and consequently damage his electoral prospects, he alleged.
It was because of this "totally misconceived apprehension" that though in his three decades of service record, there was noting against him but in two years from 2010 to 2012 he was implicated in six cases, Sharma claimed.
He said that while posted as district magistrate at Kutch, his projects for the beautification of Bhuj city - devastated by 2001 earthquake - including development of a hill garden.
It was at the garden's inauguration by Modi, he had introduced the woman - engaged as a landscaping architect - to the chief minister.
Modi and the woman "remained in touch with each other for next several years", he said in his application.
Mocking claims that it was done on the request of the woman's father, Sharma said the "explanation seems absolutely incredulous and unworthy of any belief, in light of the contents of the conversations" that Shah had with IPS officer G.L. Singhal which "clearly reveal that the surveillance was extremely intrusive and hostile and not as innocuous and benign as sought to be made".
The transcript of the tapes "reveal a strong bias and prejudice of the state of Gujarat against the applicant herein and the state's intent to somehow implicate the applicant herein in criminal offences".
He contended these transcripts confirm his apprehensions that he was being victimized because of his knowledge of Modi's relationship with the woman.
Sharma contended that the "charge sheets filed in various cases are outcome of bias and prejudicial investigations" and aimed to harass him. He thus sought an investigation by the CBI which is beyond the control of Modi.