Jailed Ex-Cop Sanjiv Bhatt Convicted In 1996 Drug Seizure Case

Sanjiv Bhatt was sacked from the Indian Police Service in 2015 (File)

A sessions court in Palanpur town of Gujarat’s Banaskantha district on Wednesday convicted jailed former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a drug seizure case dating back to 1996.

The court is expected to pronounce the quantum of punishment on Thursday afternoon. This was the second conviction of Sanjiv Bhatt in a criminal matter — the first one was in 2019 when he was found guilty in a custodial death case by a Jamnagar court.

Additional district and sessions judge J N Thakkar held Sanjiv Bhatt guilty of falsely implicating a Rajasthan-based lawyer by claiming that in 1996, police had seized drugs from a hotel room in Palanpur where the lawyer was staying.

Sanjiv Bhatt, who was sacked from the Indian Police Service in 2015, was then serving as the superintendent of police of Banaskantha district.

The former police officer’s wife Shweta expressed disappointment over the verdict and termed it as a “miscarriage of justice”.

The district police under Sanjiv Bhatt had arrested Rajasthan lawyer Sumersingh Rajpurohit under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) in 1996, claiming they had seized drugs from a hotel room in Palanpur 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 I B Vyas had moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a thorough inquiry into the case. Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested by the state CID in September 2018 in the drug case under the NDPS Act and is in Palanpur sub-jail since then.

Last year, the former IPS officer had approached the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the trial in the 28-year-old drug case to another sessions court alleging bias. He had also sought directions for recording of the trial court proceedings.

However, the Supreme Court had dismissed Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea and imposed a cost of Rs 3 lakh on him for alleging bias against a lower court judge conducting his trial in the drug planting case.

During the pendency of the trial in the drug case, a sessions court in Jamnagar had in 2019 convicted Sanjiv Bhatt of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment in a 1990 custodial death case. The custodial death case was from the time when Sanjiv Bhatt was serving as additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar district.

Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta termed the entire drug case as “fictitious”.

“This verdict was a miscarriage of justice. It was a fictitious case which had been going on for the last five-and-a-half years here. My husband was nowhere involved in it. This entire case is made up and I will talk in detail about it tomorrow (Thursday) when the court pronounces the quantum of punishment,” she told reporters outside the sessions court. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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