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Gujarat high court declines to quash FIR against former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt

Updated: Aug 24th, 2023

The Gujarat High Court rejected a petition to quash the First Information Report (FIR) lodged against former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt today in a 27-year-old drug planting case. 

The case, “Sanjiv Rajendrabhai Bhatt vs State of Gujarat,” involved Bhatt’s appeal to have the FIR dismissed. Justice Samir Dave, presiding as a single-judge, delivered the ruling by dismissing Bhatt's application to nullify the FIR and refused to stay the immediate order’s effect or halt trial proceedings for a month, despite Bhatt’s counsel’s request.

Addressing the request for a stay on the trial, Justice Dave remarked, “How can I stay the trial when there was never a stay? Sorry, no stay.”

A 27-year-old case

The origin of the case dates back to 1996 when a lawyer based in Rajasthan was arrested by the Banaskantha police following the seizure of drugs from his hotel room in Palanpur, Rajasthan. Bhatt was the Superintendent of Police at Banaskantha during this period.

However, subsequent to the arrest, the Rajasthan police alleged that Bhatt’s team had filed a false case to unjustly harass the lawyer in connection with a property dispute. In Sept 2018, Bhatt was arrested in this case and has remained in custody since then.

In a separate legal episode, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea by Bhatt in Feb 2023. The plea aimed to challenge a Jan 2023 Gujarat high court decision that extended the trial completion timeframe until Mar 31, 2023. The Supreme Court deemed the plea 'frivolous' and imposed a fine of ₹10,000 on Bhatt.

Who is IPS Sanjiv Bhatt?

Sanjiv Bhatt is noted for his vocal criticism of the Narendra Modi government. Prior to his dismissal from the IPS, he had submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court, alleging the complicity of the then Modi-led Gujarat government in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

His dismissal from service in 2015 by the union ministry of home affairs was based on grounds of unauthorised absence from duty.

(Source: IANS)

-Edited for style

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