The Supreme Court today dismissed the special leave petition filed by former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt against the March 7 judgment of the Gujarat High Court which had dismissed his bail application.
The sacked Gujarat cadre official has been in custody since September 2018 in a twenty three year old alleged drug planting case.
The bench of CJI Ranjan Gogi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna observed that the Gujarat High Court had granted liberty to Bhatt to approach the Court again in case the trial in the case was not over within a period of six months. In that view of the matter, the Court observed that it was not inclined to interfere.
The case relates to an incident in 1996, when Bhatt, who was then a Superintendent of Police of Banaskantha district, had allegedly implicated one Sumersingh Rajpurohit, a Rajasthan-based lawyer, in a narcotics case. At the time, Banaskantha Police claimed that drugs were found in a hotel room occupied by Rajpurohit in the district's Palanpur town.
A later probe by Rajasthan Police in Rajpurohit's complaint concluded that he was falsely implicated by Banaskantha Police to compel him to transfer a disputed property at Pali in Rajasthan. It also claimed to have found that Rajpurohit was allegedly abducted by Banaskantha Police from his residence at Pali.
The investigation in the case remained frozen for long due to the pendency of special leave petitions filed by Gujarat Government in 2000 contending that the police officials were discharging bona fide duties .The "self imposed" stay on the investigation got vacated, when the Gujarat High Court directed on April 3, 2018 to expedite the investigation and handed over the case to CID. The special leave petitions were withdrawn by the Gujarat government in December 2018.
After that Bhatt was taken into arrested in September 2018.
Following the rejection of his bail application by sessions court in Banaskantha district, he approached the High Court.
Dismissing the bail application, Justice Sonia Gokani of High Court observed that the delay of 23 years cannot be the sole guiding factor while deciding a bail application. The Court, however, directed the Trial Court to expedite the process of completing the trial sooner as possible.
In April 2011, Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 riots. He claimed to have attended a meeting convened by the then CM, Mr. Modi, on February 27, 2002, the day of the communal riots, when instructions were allegedly given to the State Police to not take any action against the perpetrators of violence.
The Court appointed SIT however gave clean chit to Modi.
In 2015, Bhatt was removed from the police service, on the ground of "unauthorised absence". In October 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed Bhatt's plea for constituting a special investigation team (SIT) for cases filed against him by Gujarat Government. The Court observed that, "Bhatt was in active touch with leaders of rival political party, was being tutored by NGOs, was involved in politics and activism of creating pressure, even upon 3-judge bench of this court, amicus and many others".