Ex-cop Bhatt moves HC for discharge in 1996 drug planting case

Ahmedabad, Dec 3 (PTI) Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has approached the Gujarat High Court with a plea seeking discharge in a 1996 case related to planting of drug to allegedly frame a lawyer from Rajasthan.

Bhatts lawyer Saurin Shah said his client filed the revision plea in the HC on Monday after a Palanpur court rejected his discharge application in the 23-year-old case on August 23.

The plea of Bhatt, serving a life sentence in a separate case, is likely to come up for hearing later this week, he said.

Discharge from a case is a pre-trial remedy available to an accused under the CrPC.

Bhatt was arrested on September 5 last year on charges of framing the Rajasthan-based lawyer by planting drug in a case that dates back to 1996 when the former IPS officer was the superintendent of police of Banaskantha district.

The case was investigated by the Gujarat CID on orders of the high court, leading to Bhatt's arrest.

According to the CID, the Banaskantha police arrested the lawyer, Sumersingh Rajpurohit, on charges of possessing around one kg of opium.

The drug was found in a hotel room in Palanpur town where Rajpurohit was staying, the police had said.

However, a probe found that Rajpurohit was allegedly falsely implicated by the Banaskantha Police to compel him to transfer a disputed property in Pali, Rajasthan, they had said.

In June this year, a court in Jamnagar district had sentenced him to life imprisonment in a custodial death matter.

Bhatt was found responsible for the death of Jamjodhpur town resident Prabhudas Vaishnani in November 1990 when he was posted as additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar district.

Vaishnani was among around 150 people detained by the police following a communal riot in Jamjodhpur town in October 1990. He died in a hospital after his release from custody.

Bhatt and six other police officials were accused of torturing Vaishnani in detention.

In October, the high court had turned down Bhatt's plea for suspension of his life imprisonment.

He was suspended from the Indian Police Service in 2011 and sacked by the Ministry of Home Affairs in August 2015 for 'unauthorised absence' from service.

He had several run-ins with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat over the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against the alleged role of the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the riots. PTI KA PD RSY RSY