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Wife of ex-cop Sanjiv Bhatt alleges he is being blocked from approaching court, SC terms the matter serious

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The SC has asked the Gujarat govt to respond before going into the ‘merits of the case’. 

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday termed as “serious” the allegations made by the wife of arrested former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt that he was not being allowed to sign any document in custody to enable him approach the apex court.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said the Gujarat government should file a reply to the allegations levelled by Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt in her petition, on or before October 4.

“Before we go into the merit of the case, we would like Gujarat government to respond to the allegations. According to us, the issue raised is serious as it pertains to allegation made against the state that it is preventing a citizen to approach us,” the bench said.

Advocate Divyesh Pratap Singh, appearing for Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt said they have also challenged the remand of Bhatt, who was arrested by the Gujarat CID on 5 September in connection with a 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest an advocate.

“We are not on remand at present. We are not on individual hardship. If a citizen is not allowed to come to court and his wife has to come before us, then it’s a very serious issue,” the bench said.

At the outset, the bench asked Bhatt’s lawyer to read the averments made in the petition and said it had taken note of it.

Singh said Bhatt was not allowed to sign any documents including Vakalatnama for filing an appeal against the high court order.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gujarat government, said it will file an affidavit with regard to the averments made in the petition.

The bench then listed the matter for 4 October.

Bhatt and seven others, including some former policemen attached with the Banaskantha Police, were initially detained for questioning in the case. Bhatt was the Banaskantha district superintendent of police in 1996.

As per the police, the Banaskantha Police under Bhatt had arrested one Sumersingh Rajpurohit, an advocate, in 1996 on charges of possessing around one kg of drugs.

At that time, the Banaskantha Police had claimed that drugs were found in a hotel room occupied by Rajpurohit in the district’s Palanpur town.

However, a probe by the Rajasthan Police had concluded that Rajpurohit was allegedly falsely implicated by the Banaskantha Police to compel him to transfer a disputed property at Pali in Rajasthan. It had also claimed to have found that Rajpurohit was allegedly abducted by the Banaskantha Police from his residence at Pali in Rajasthan.

Following the Rajasthan Police’s investigation, former police inspector of Banaskantha I B Vyas had moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a thorough inquiry into the matter.

In June this year, the high court had handed over the probe in the case to the CID while hearing the petition and asked it to complete the probe in three months.

The Gujarat Cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was suspended in 2011 on charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles and later sacked in August, 2015.

Bhatt’s wife Shweta has unsuccessfully contested assembly election as a Congress party candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad in 2012. – PTI

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