As long as the 2002 Gujarat violence remains in the realm of public discourse, two police officers of Gujarat will always be remembered. One for his bravery and the other for his cowardice. Rahul Sharma IPS will be remembered for his bravery for saving the lives of 400 children in Bhavnagar during the communal riots of Gujarat of 2002. In fact, even when Narendra Modi has to cite an example of (the very few) police officers who did good work during 2002, he grudgingly cites the example of Rahul Sharma’s work in Bhavnagar. In an interview given to Hindustan Times on March 10, 2002, Modi said:
“In Bhavnagar, a madrasa became the cause of tension when a TV channel reported that an associate of Aftab Ansari had been a student there. To defuse the situation, we had to move 400 students and some Maulvis to safer places.”
The other officer who is remembered is the former Police Commissioner of Ahmedabad in 2002, Shri PC Pande IPS who remained a mute spectator as the mobs descended in the streets butchering hundreds of innocent citizens. But who did the Government reward? While PC Pande continues to enjoy the patronage of Modi even after his retirement, Rahul Sharma has been charge-sheeted and victimized repeatedly since the last one decade and continued to be harassed even now.
Rahul Sharma has ofcourse committed the cardinal crime of telling the truth much against the discomfort of the Gujarat Chief Minister. Before the Nanavati-commission, it was Sharma who had exposed the ill famous statement of Gordhan Zadaphia, the then Minister of State (Home) in Gujarat expressing his dissatisfaction over the ratio of persons killed in police firing ordered by Sharma to control the riots, being adverse to the Hindus as compared to Muslims. Later, during his deposition, Sharma had submitted to the Nanavati-Shah commission copies of a CD containing mobile phone data that had helped indict some important persons as accused in the riot cases, including Mayaben Kodnani, Minister of State and Jaideep Patel, Secretary, VHP. Modi Government has already charge-sheeted Sharma for putting the call records in public domain.
In another act of glaring vindictiveness, the Modi government has recently served Sharma a charge-sheet for departmental misconduct on 6th December, 2013 to deny the next promotion to Sharma. The Departmental Promotion Committee for the promotion of officers of the 1992 â€“ 1995 batches was deliberately held on 7th December, 2013, a day after Sharma was served with charge-sheet to deny him his due promotion. Sharma, who was the senior-most IPS Officer of the 1992 batch in Gujarat, was overlooked for promotion and several juniors promoted and posted above him. The design of the Modi government becomes apparent on looking at the frivolousness of the charges constructed against Sharma.
Sharma was alleged to have committed misconduct by permitting a Head Clerk of his office to sign a few routine letters on his behalf! It has been alleged that the Head Clerk, being a non-gazetted officer, could not have signed correspondence on behalf of Sharma. Sharma in his reply mentioned that correspondence of such nature was routinely observed in the offices of the DGP and the Additional DGP, Armed Units. Further, when he was the only gazetted officer in his office and when he was out of headquarters, somebody had to sign letters on his behalf.
Sharma has now moved the Central Administrative Trbunal at Ahmedabad challenging such frivolous charges designed to deprive him of his due promotion. Sharma has prayed for the quashing of the charge-sheet. In a second application before CAT, he has prayed that all inquiries against him be conducted in a fair and impartial manner by impartial officers. For this purpose, Sharma has indicated that he had been issued with a Show Cause Notice for disciplinary action on frivolous issues, which include, amongst others, a single typographical error in an order that he had issued. Yes, a Show Cause Notice for a single typographical error. Sharma has alleged that the perverse intention of the Modi government is to harass him for the rest of his career by tying him down with multiple charge-sheets for â€œsuchâ€ frivolous disciplinary misconduct.
In a third application, Sharma has challenged the constitution of the Referral Board, to which he is required to make a representation in respect of his Performance Appraisal Reports (PARs). Sharma has expressed the apprehension that the Referral Board, which will consist of the same members, who had earlier rejected his previous representation will preside over their own decision, i.e. they will be a judge in their own court. Sharma’s PARs had been spoilt for the past two years in respect of virtually every column, which is also strange considering that he has always been graded as â€œOutstandingâ€ throughout his career. The frivolousness and triviality of the charges and the consistent drive against Sharma only brings out the vindictive nature of the Modi government, which is hell bent on harassing Sharma.
It appears that his superior officer Mr Tirth Raj IPS has become the hatchet man for the Modi government in victimizing Sharma. It was found on enquiry that a criminal case of molestation had been registered against Tirth Raj by his own lady clerk, when he was serving as the Superintendent of Police (SP), Bharuch, in the early 90s. In 1996, the husband of the lady clerk got selected as a constable by Rahul Sharma, who was then the SP, Bharuch. Tirth Raj, who is much senior to Sharma called him up and directed him not to issue appointment letter to the husband of the lady clerk unless she withdrew the criminal complaint against him. Sharma refused to comply and issued the necessary appointment letter to the husband. The bad blood between Tirthraj and Sharma created in the above incident is now used by the Government to egg Tirthraj to victimize Sharma. As to how Tirthraj got acquitted from the criminal case filed by the lady clerk remains a mystery and a serious concern and it needs to be inquired whether the judicial process was subverted.