SC refuses to interfere with Gujarat HC order dismissing bail plea of ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt
The former IPS officer, who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was alleged to have falsely charge Sumersingh Rajpurohit, a Rajasthan-based lawyer for carrying drugs in 1996.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with the March 7 order of the Gujarat High Court which had rejected the bail plea of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in connection with a two-decade-old drug seizure case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi noted that the high court had already granted liberty to Bhatt, who is in jail since September last year, to approach again for relief in case the trial does not conclude within a period of six months. "In view of the liberty granted to the petitioner (Bhatt) by the high court in paragraph 38.3 of the order that if the trial does not get concluded within the period of six months, the applicant shall be at liberty to approach this court once again, we are not inclined to interfere," the bench, which also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said. "The special leave petition is, accordingly, disposed of," the bench said, adding, "We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case." Bhatt had moved the apex court challenging the high court's March 7 order. On April 8, the top court had agreed to hear Bhatt's plea and sought response from Gujarat police on the petition.
The former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had earlier moved the high court after a sessions court in Banaskantha district had turned down his bail plea in December last year in connection with the 23-year-old drug seizure case. Bhatt has denied the allegations levelled against him.
He was suspended in 2011 on charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles. Bhatt, who was sacked from service in 2015, was a superintendent of police in Banaskantha district in 1996. The district police under him had arrested one Sumersingh Rajpurohit, a Rajasthan-based lawyer, in 1996 claiming that they have seized drugs from a hotel room in Palanpur town where he was staying.
However, the Rajasthan police later said Rajpurohit was falsely implicated by the Banaskantha police to compel him to transfer a disputed property located at Pali in Rajasthan. Former police inspector IB Vyas had moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a thorough inquiry into the case. In June last year, the high court had handed over the probe to the state CID and Bhatt was arrested in September.