Facing allegations from the Gujarat government in the snoogate controversy, suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma today told the Supreme Court that state government was acting in a discriminatory manner against him.
Countering state government's affidavit containing various allegations like "illicit relationships" and involvement in criminal cases, he said Chief Minister Narendra Modi employed the entire might of the State Administration to "victimize, intimidate, terrorize and persecute him, including registration of the baseless FIRs and his consequent incarceration".
He said there is a clear case of discrimination as FIR has been registered against him for alleged misuse of mobile number belonging to a private company but no such action has been taken against the Chief Minister, who used the mobile number owned by another private company on which the lady in question was in touch with him.
"It is most respectfully submitted that while one of the FIRs pertaining to the Petitioner (Sharma) herein, contains allegation for mis-using the mobile number 'xxxxxxxx99' which belongs to a private company i.e., M/s Welspun.
"However, the State Government has chosen not to act against Respondent No. 3 (Modi) who used another mobile number bearing no. .... It is submitted that this number was owned by Reliance Industries Limited and the address given to the Service Provider was - Vraj, Opp. HDFC Bank, Beside Chandanbala Tower, Near Suvidha Shopping Centre, Paldi, Ahmedabad-380007.
"The telephone in question was activated on June 29, 2007 and and de-activated on March 8, 2011 and was in use during the relevant period of 2009. This is a clear case of discrimination and malafide against the Petitioner (Sharma) and an abuse of the official position by the Respondent No. 3 (Modi) to settle the personal grievance against the Petitioner herein.
"The Petitioner respectfully submits that the lady architect was regularly in touch with the Petitioner and shared details of the conversations she was having with Respondent No. 3, and it was at the behest of Respondent No. 3 that she visited the Petitioner in Bhavnagar to explore possibilities to start a new State funded project as promised to her by Respondent No. 3 (Modi).
"It was only after this clarification put forth by the Petitioner that the State changed its stance and came up with an explanation of financial transactions and issue of moral conduct to justify its unlawful acts.
"That the Petitioner herein is a witness to the text messages (SMS) exchanged between the lady architect and Respondent No. 3 and it was through this exchange that the Petitioner noted the details of the phone number which is in fact registered in the name of Reliance Industries, and was being used by Respondent No. 3 for his own personal use," Sharma said in his rejoinder affidavit to the state governments affidavit filed on April 1.
The snooping controversy broke out when two news portals released CDs of purported telephonic conversations between Modi's aide Amit Shah, who was then state Home Minister, and two top state police officials relating to snooping on a woman in 2009.
The conversations, purportedly between August and September 2009, do not specifically mention Modi by name but refers to a 'saheb', which the portals claimed was the Gujarat Chief Minister at whose instance the snooping was done, a charge denied by Shah.