Gujarat: NDPS Court Imposes 2 Lakh Fine On Sacked IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt In Drug Planting Case

Gujarat: NDPS Court Imposes 2 Lakh Fine On Sacked IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt In Drug Planting Case

Bhatt's involvement in cases of custodial murder and drug planting underlining the challenges in ensuring justice and upholding the rule of law.

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Thursday, March 28, 2024, 10:45 PM IST
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Sanjiv Bhatt |

A special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court has handed down a verdict of 20 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakh on sacked controversial IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a case involving the planting of drugs. Bhatt, once a prominent figure in Gujarat's police force, faced charges under NDPS sections 21(c) and 27A, pertaining to the financing of illicit traffic and harboring offenders.

Sanjiv Bhatt's Alleged Role In Planting Drugs

The case dates back to 1996 when Sanjiv Bhatt, then serving as the district police chief of Banaskantha, allegedly orchestrated the planting of drugs in the hotel room of Rajasthan-based advocate Sumer Singh Rajpurohit. After a prolonged legal battle, CID Crime arrested Bhatt along with Police Inspector Vyas in 2018, marking a significant development in the case.

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.

Sanjiv Bhatt's NDPS Violations To Custodial Murder Charges

The court's verdict mandates an additional one-year jail term for Bhatt if he fails to pay the imposed fine. Bhatt has been convicted on multiple counts, including abetment, criminal conspiracy, forgery, wrongful confinement, and acts done in furtherance of common intent, under both NDPS Act and Indian Penal Code sections.

Apart from the NDPS case, Sanjiv Bhatt's legal entanglements extend to other serious charges, including custodial murder 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.

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.

Sanjiv Bhatt's Conviction

Bhatt was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Jamnagar sessions court in 2019 for the custodial death case. In January 2024, 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.

Sanjiv Bhatt's downfall from a high-ranking police officer to a convict highlights the gravity of the charges against him and the broader issue of accountability within the law enforcement system. His involvement in cases of custodial murder and drug planting underlining  the challenges in ensuring justice and upholding the rule of law.

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