Gujarat: Former IPS Sanjiv Bhatt Convicted By Palanpur Sessions Court In 1996 NDPS Case

Gujarat: Former IPS Sanjiv Bhatt Convicted By Palanpur Sessions Court In 1996 NDPS Case

A probe by the Rajasthan police later revealed that the lawyer was falsely implicated and allegedly abducted by Banaskantha Police from his residence in Pali.

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Thursday, March 28, 2024, 01:19 AM IST
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Sanjiv Bhatt |

Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Sanjiv Bhatt has been found guilty by the Palanpur sessions court on Wednesday in a 1996 drug planting case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the quantum of punishment of which will be announced on Thursday.

 “This case is entirely fabricated, and my husband had no role in it," Shweta Bhatt, Sanjiv Bhatt's wife, told media persons. "The court has delivered conviction in the case. I will have a detailed press briefing tomorrow after the court announces the sentencing," said Shweta Bhatt on Wednesday.

Allegations Of Fabricating Evidence By Banaskantha Police

During Sanjiv Bhatt's tenure as Banaskantha's District Superintendent of Police, a lawyer from Rajasthan was arrested by the Banaskantha police after drugs were discovered from the lawyer's hotel room in Palanpur in Banaskantha district. According to a complaint, Bhatt allegedly fabricated evidence by planting 1.5 kg of opium in the lawyer’s room, suspected as an attempt to coerce the lawyer out of a commercial property in Pali town, Rajasthan.

A probe by the Rajasthan police later revealed that the lawyer was falsely implicated and allegedly abducted by Banaskantha Police from his residence in Pali.

Legal Proceedings & Current Status Of Sanjiv Bhatt's Case

In 2018 the Gujarat High Court ordered an inquiry into the case after which Bhatt and his subordinate IB Vyas were arrested in September 2018. Vyas subsequently became an approver in the matter. Bhatt was dismissed from the services in 2015.

At present Bhatt is serving life imprisonment in a case related to custodial death. As the additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar, in 1990 Bhatt had detained over 130 individuals under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) after a communal riot triggered by a Bharat Bandh called by Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Legal Action Against Sanjiv Bhatt For Custodial Death

One of the detainee, Prabhudas Vaishnani after being released died in a hospital, with his family accusing Bhatt of custodial torture. The main allegation against Bhatt was Vaishnani being denied water during the detention resulting in kidney damage. There were other allegations too, including reckless beatings and forced acts.

An FIR was registered against Bhatt and other officers for custodial death and cognizance was taken by a Magistrate in 1995. A total of seven police officers were accused in the case including two sub-inspectors and three police constables.

Sanjiv Bhatt's Appeal Rejected By Gujarat High Court

Bhatt was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Jamnagar sessions court in 2019 for the custodial death case. In January this year, the Gujarat High Court upheld his conviction and life sentence for the custodial death case. Bhatt, along with co-accused Pravinsinh Zala, was convicted under sections 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. Sanjeev Bhatt's appeal against the verdict of the Jamnagar court was rejected by the Gujarat High Court in January this year.

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