Former IPS Sanjiv Bhatt gets 20 years in jail in 1996 drug planting case

Palanpur (Gujarat): The Palanpur sessions court in Banaskantha district sentenced ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to 20 years in jail for his involvement in a 1996 narcotics case.

The court found Bhatt guilty of planting drugs to falsely implicate a Rajasthan-based lawyer in Palanpur, Gujarat, where Bhatt was serving as the Superintendent of Police at the time.

Bhatt had arrested lawyer Sumersingh Rajpurohit under the NDPS Act, claiming that opium was found in his hotel room.

The subsequent probe by the Rajasthan police suggested that Rajpurohit was framed to coerce a property transfer, prompting former police inspector I.B. Vyas to seek a comprehensive probe in 1999.

Bhatt’s arrest by the state CID in 2018 under the NDPS Act led to his detention in the Palanpur sub-jail. The Supreme Court later dismissed his previous appeals for transfer of trial and recording of court proceedings, besides slapping a fine on him for alleging judicial bias.

The court ordered that Bhatt’s 20-year term would commence after his ongoing life sentence in a custodial death case in Jamnagar gets over.

Dismissed from service in 2015, Bhatt has been incarcerated since 2018.

Judge J.N. Thakkar convicted Bhatt under various sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), imposing a fine of Rs 2 lakh on him in addition to the prison term.

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