Ahmedabad: Gujarat government on Thursday opposed IPS officer Rahul Sharma's petition before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the chargesheet against him in connection with the phone-call record CDs of 2002 riot period, terming it premature.

One of the charges against Sharma is he did not produce the CDs before the investigating officer or the supervisory officer.

In an affidavit filed before CAT bench of Mukesh K Gupta and Ashok Kumar, government also refuted Sharma's allegation that he was chargesheeted because he had deposed before the Nanavati Commission, which is probing the 2002 riot cases.

As Sharma on Thursday sought time to file rejoinder to the affidavit, bench scheduled the next hearing for January 31.

The affidavit, filed by state home secretary Manoj Kumar, said Sharma's petition should be rejected as it was premature.

"Applicant has rushed to CAT without even replying to the chargesheet," it said.

The charges against Sharma had "nothing to do with what, when, how the applicant has deposed before Justice G T Nanavati Commission", it said.

Sharma's contention is that he is protected under section 6 of Commissions of Inquiry Act, which says that no statement made by a person before a Commission can be used against him.

But Kumar's affidavit said that Sharma could not claim protection under section 6, as the production of CDs by Sharma before Nanavati Commission was not in reply to the question asked by the Commission.

The question requiring production of CDs was asked during a cross examination by Mukul Sinha of Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM); the Commission had not asked for CDs, it said.

According to the chargesheet, when Sharma relinquished the charge as DCP (control) in 2002, he did not hand over the CD containing mobile call records collected from telecom companies -- which was "a case property" -- to his successor or the investigating officer of Naroda police station.

Instead, he illegally carried the CDs with him, it says.

For this, last August, he was chargesheeted for misconduct under All India Service Rules 1969.

In the petition before CAT, Sharma says he had handed the CD to a police messenger of (the then) crime branch chief P P Pande, after which it became untraceable.

Only copies of the CD are currently available.

Sharma has also said in the petition that state acted with malice, and there was a delay of nine years in taking action against him.

As a Deputy Commissioner of Police (control), Ahmedabad, between March 24, 2002 to July 3, 2002, Sharma had prepared CD of mobile phone call records of ministers, politicians, police officers and bureaucrats.

(Agencies)