Contesting the remand revision plea moved by the state government, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been arrested by the CID-Crime in a 22-year-old case of alleged drug planting, on Monday told the Gujarat High Court that the action of the government was contrary to its stand in the Supreme Court in connection with the same case when it had defended him.
Bhatt was arrested last week along with retired inspector I B Vyas for allegedly framing a lawyer from Rajasthan, Sumersingh Rajpurohit, in a case of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act by planting 1.25 kg opium in a hotel room in Palanpur in Banaskantha district in1996.
Rajpurohit has been alleging that he was framed by Bhatt at the behest of a former High Court judge R R Jain in connection with a property dispute. Bhatt, a 1988-batch IPS officer, was dismissed from service in 2015.
Following their arrest last week, the CID-Crime had sought the two officers’ custody for 14 days. However, a magisterial court rejected the plea. The CID-Crime then challenged the order before the High Court. A single judge bench of Justice R P Dholariya is hearing the plea.
Appearing for Bhatt, advocate I H Syed questioned the government’s stand and the current criminal procedure initiated against Bhatt and Vyas.
Arguing for Bhatt, Syed said that Rajpurohit had already got an FIR registered in Rajasthan against Bhatt, Vyas and several other Gujarat police officers in November 1996 with the allegation that as part of a conspiracy he was framed by them.
“In that case, I (Bhatt) have been bailed out and a chargesheet has already been filed by Rajasthan Police. That chargesheet has been challenged by the Gujarat government in the Supreme Court and the same has been stayed by the apex court since May 2000… So, I cannot be subjected to an investigation for a same incident twice. Rajasthan Police has already investigated that incident,” Syed argued on behalf of Bhatt.
Syed also said that the action of Gujarat government was contrary to its stand taken before Supreme Court at the relevant time in 1999-2000. He said that at that time the Gujarat government had defended Bhatt and Vyas in the Supreme Court while stating that the action of Rajasthan Police was against the provisions of Bombay Police Act and Section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code. “The fact that SC has stayed the chargesheet of Rajasthan Police was concealed before the Gujarat HC when it ordered further probe in Palanpur case (in April this year),” said Syed. The court will hear the matter on Tuesday.