The Gujarat High Court, on Thursday, rejected a bail application filed by former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in connection with a two-decade-old drug seizure case.
Justice Sonia Gokani refused to grant relief to Bhatt, who is behind the bars since September last year in connection with a 23-year-old drug seizure case. In the order, the court observed that mere emphasis of delay of 21 years in the proceedings with the matter cannot be the sole guiding factor while deciding a bail application. It observed:
"It would not be neither in the interest of justice nor would the criteria laid down legally under the provisions of NDPS Act, permit grant of regular bail to the petitioner and hence, the request of grant of regular bail deserves no consideration..If enlarged during the pendency of trial with his position and past conduct, there may be a serious possibility of tempering with the witnesses and thereby thwart the course of justice. The expertise mastered under the law for having enjoyed different positions as a Senior Police Officer in IPS cadre could result into tyranny for the witnesses who are all his juniors and subvergence of the criminal justice system.."
The Court, however, directed the Trial Court to expedite the process of completing the trial sooner as possible.
The former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer had approached the high court after a sessions court in Banaskantha district turned down his bail plea in December last year.
Bhatt, who was sacked from service in 2015, was a superintendent of police in Banaskantha district in 1996.
The district police under Bhatt 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 the latter 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 moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a thorough inquiry into the matter.
In June last year, the high court handed over the probe to the state CID, and Bhatt was arrested in September.
(With PTI Inputs)