The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s application seeking a transfer of the trial in an alleged drug-planting case to the Palanpur district court’s seniormost additional sessions judge.
The HC also rejected another plea by Bhatt to quash a June order by the Palanpur court which had turned down Bhatt’s request for a transfer and stay on the trial. Bhatt had accused the trial judge in Palanpur of “bias”.
Bhatt is already in jail after he was sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment in a custodial torture case. The drugs case dates back to 1996, when he was the district superintendent of police at Banaskantha in 1996 and allegedly framed a lawyer by planting 1.5 kg of opium at a hotel in Palanpur. The case is being heard by a special NDPS court in Palanpur and the trial is nearing completion.
The court of Justice Samir Dave, in its order on Thursday, observed that Bhatt had adopted a “similar modus operandi at the fag-end” of the trial in the custodial torture case. He added that Bhatt “is a classic example of bringing extraordinary and extraneous pressure on the trial judge to prevent him from discharging his judicial function impartially and fearlessly”.