Gujarat HC refuses to quash FIR against Sanjiv Bhatttext_fields
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected a plea filed by former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt to quash the First Information Report (FIR) lodged against him 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 also 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."
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 September 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 February this year. The plea aimed to challenge a January 2023 Gujarat High Court decision that extended the trial completion timeframe until March 31, 2023.
The Supreme Court deemed the plea 'frivolous' and imposed a fine of Rs10,000 on 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 that the Modi-led Gujarat government had a complicit role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
He was dismissed from service by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in 2015 on grounds of unauthorized absence from service.