Ahmedabad: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) here on Thursday reserved order on the petition of IPS officer Rahul Sharma, challenging the chargesheet against him for not submitting the original CD containing phone call records of the 2002 Gujarat communal riots.

A tribunal bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar reserved the order after hearing the petitioner and the state government, which has opposed Sharma's petition. It has also asked both the sides to submit their final written arguments by March 20.

The tribunal also ordered extension of the deadline for Sharma to file reply to government's chargesheet till the order in the present matter was issued.

The petition which is at an admission stage was filed by Sharma last year contending that he was being "victimised" for deposing before the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riot cases.

The bench was hearing Sharma's petition on the limited issue whether he enjoys immunity under section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act (CIA), 1952 from all civil and criminal proceeding. The section 6 of CIA provides protection to witness against statements made by him before a commission.

The state government had denied Sharma's contention terming his petition as "premature". The state has further claimed that there was no connection between the chargesheet filed against Sharma and his deposition before the riot panel.

Sharma's counsel Mukul Sinha and K G Pillai argued that since the state itself was contending that it was inquiring into the contradictions made by the IPS officer in his statements before the judicial panel, it is implied that their client enjoys immunity from all civil and criminal proceeding under section 6 of CIA.

Sharma had approached the CAT in September last year challenging Gujarat government's chargesheet alleging him of misconduct under Sec 3(1) of All India Service Rules 1969.

He was charged for not submitting the original CD, containing mobile phone call records related to 2002 communal riots period, to the respective investigating officers of riot cases or his supervisory officers or depositing it as a case property when he was transferred from the post.

In his petition challenging the chargesheet Sharma has said that he had sent the CD in question through a police messenger of the then Joint Police Commissioner P P Pande, after which it became untraceable.

The original CD is presently not traceable and only copies of it were available.