The Supreme Court yesterday sought the Gujarat government’s response on a plea filed by the wife of dismissed police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, alleging that she was compelled to move the court as her husband was being prevented from doing so.
Describing the allegation by Shweta Bhatt that her husband was not being allowed to sign ‘vakalatnama’ and other documents necessary for approaching the court as “very serious”, the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha asked the Gujarat government to respond.
“This is something very serious, a person not being allowed to come to the court. His wife is being compelled to come,” Justice Gogoi said.
“Before we go into the merits of the case, we would like the State of Gujarat to respond to the allegations,” the court ordered.
Shweta Bhatt alleged that her husband had been taken into custody “in the most arbitrary manner” and he had also been taken on police custody remand.
He was not being allowed to execute ‘vakalatnama’ and other documents required to file the present special leave petition.
Asking senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, representing Gujarat, to respond, the court ordered that the affidavit of the state be filed on or before September 28 and Shweta Bhatt, if required, may respond to it.
The court directed the hearing of the matter on October 4.
Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested by the CID Crime Branch of Gujarat police on September 5 in connection with a 1996 case allegedly framing a Rajasthan-based lawyer, Sumersingh Rajpurohit, in a narcotics peddling case.
Bhatt was serving as the district superintendent of police in Banaskantha district when the lawyer was booked under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The Rajasthan police claimed that this was done to compel the lawyer to let go a disputed property in Pali district.
The Rajasthan police also claimed that Rajpurohit was abducted by police from his residence at Pali.
Following this investigation, former Banaskantha police inspector I B Vyas had moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a detailed probe into the incident.
Bhatt, an Indian Police Service officer, was dismissed in 2015 for “unauthorised absence” from work.
The Gujarat High Court had on September 11 sent Bhatt and retired police officer Vyas to 10 days police custody.
On Sunday, Congress leader Paresh Dhanani raised questions about the plight of Bhatt.
In a series of tweets, Dhanani came to the defence of Bhatt.
“Why is the information on a permanent stay by Supreme Court over an FIR filed in Rajasthan, in connection with Sanjiv Bhatt case, not given to Gujarat High Court,” he asked. He accused the BJP government of conspiring against Bhatt.
He said the “real thieves” are at large while honest officers like Sanjiv Bhatt, are thrown behind bars.
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