Bhatt, retired Inspector sent in police remanded for 10 days

Ahmedabad : The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday accepted the state government's plea for police remand of arrested former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and sent him and a retired police officer in 10-day police custody.

Justice R.P. Dholariya allowed the state's plea and granted 10-day remand of Bhatt and retired Inspector I.B. Vyas.

Bhatt and Vyas were arrested by the CID-Crime Branch last week on the charge of framing a lawyer from Rajasthan, Sumersingh Rajpurohit, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act after allegedly planting 1.25 kg opium in a hotel room in Palanpur in Banaskantha district in 1996.

The CID-Crime is re-investigating the case after the High Court orders in April.

Rajpurohit had alleged that he was framed by Bhatt at the behest of 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 for "unauthorised absence from duty."

Following their arrest last week, the CID-Crime had sought the two officers' custody for 14 days which was rejected by a magisterial court. The CID-Crime then challenged the order in the High Court.

On Monday, Bhatt's counsel I.H. Syed had contested the remand revision plea of the state, and submitted before the High Court that the government action was contrary to its stand in the Supreme Court in the same case when it had defended him.

Syed pointed out that Rajpurohit had already got an FIR registered in Rajasthan against Bhatt, Vyas and several other Gujarat police officers in November 1996.

"In that case, I (Bhatt) have been bailed out and a charge sheet already filed by Rajasthan Police. That charge sheet 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 the same incident twice. Rajasthan Police has already investigated that incident," Syed contended.

Bhatt's counsel added that "the fact that the apex court stayed the charge sheet filed by Rajasthan Police was concealed before the Gujarat High Court when it ordered further probe in the Palanpur case (in April)."

However, the High Court rejected his submissions.