A magisterial court in Palanpur, late on Thursday, rejected remand application of Gujarat CID (Crime) seeking custody of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and a retired police inspector I B Vyas for 14 days and sent the two to Palanpur sub-jail. The two were arrested by CID (Crime) Wednesday in connection with a 22-year-old case under the charge of framing a Rajasthan lawyer in a case of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act by planting 1.25 kg opium in a hotel room of Palanpur in1996.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of CID (Crime) has been further investigating the case under the orders of Gujarat High Court. And the SIT had arrested the two Wednesday after their brief interrogation in the case.
On Thursday, the CID (Crime) produced Bhatt and Vyas before a magisterial court in Palanpur presided over by Judicial Magistrate First Class V B Charan. Gujarat government had appointed public prosecutor at HC, Mitesh Amin, for presenting its case.
Advocate Rahimuddin Shaikh who appeared for Bhatt before the court said, “CID (Crime) had moved an application seeking custody of the two for 14 days on a number of points. However, we had contested their application while arguing that for none of those points, custodial interrogation was required of the accused as all the documentary evidence required for the prosecution is already available with them. After hearing us, the court rejected the application and sent the accused to Palanpur sub-jail.”
Shaikh added that after rejection of the remand application, prosecution lawyer had moved another application to challenge the order of rejection. “Though, that application was also rejected by the court after hearing both sides.”
Apart from the remand application, the prosecution had moved another application to add more sections to the case. Shaikh said that the application has been taken on record by the court without passing any order.
The case, with long history and multiple litigation, relates to the arrest of a Rajasthan lawyer Sumersingh Rajpurohit, who was booked by Banaskantha police under the provisions of NDPS Act on April 30, 1996. The said arrest was made after registering an offence based on an anonymous call to Banaskantha district police control room that Rajpurohit dealt in opium and that he was staying at a hotel in Palanpur carrying 5 kg opium to be
Police raided the hotel and found a room vacant which was registered in the name of Sumersingh Rajpurohit of Pali with his residential address. Police also allegedly recovered 1.15 kg opium from the hotel room.
Subsequently, a police team had gone to Rajasthan and arrested Rajpurohit in the intervening night of May 2 & May 3, 1996. Rajpurohit was also sent on police remand for seven days till May 10, 1996. However, on May 6, the
hotel staff did not identify Rajpurohit during the Identification Parade. Following that, Banaskantha police submitted a report to the court with a prayer to discharge Rajpurohit from the case under the provisions of Section 169 of Criminal Procedure Code. And eventually, Rajpurohit was discharged by the concerned court.
However, no further investigation was carried out in the case to find out if how did the 1.15 kg opium came into the hotel room of Palanpur.
Rajpurohit has been alleging that he was framed in the case by Bhatt at the behest of a former judge of Gujarat High Court R R Jain. According to Rajpurohit, the case had roots in a rented property in Pali that was being
owned by a lady whom Jain was treating as his real sister. Rajpurohit and one another person were in possession of the property. Rajpurohit has also been alleging that he was discharged from the case only after an agreement
was signed in Rajasthan to vacate the rented property.
Acting on two separate petitions related to the case that were pending before it for the past more than 20 years, Gujarat High Court had, in April this year, ordered CID (Crime) to further probe the Palanpur case to probe,
if how did the opium come in the Palanpur hotel room in 1996.