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Sanjiv Bhatt asked to pay Rs.1 lakh to Gujarat treasury

Manas Dasgupta


The false case was an attempt to blackmail advocate Rajpurohit

NHRC considered it a ‘serious case of human rights violation'


GANDHINAGAR: The controversial Gujarat cadre IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, who had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of an anti-minority stance during the 2002 communal riots, will now have to pay Rs.1 lakh to the State government treasury within a month.

The government has decided to recover from Mr. Bhatt Rs.1 lakh as compensation due to a Rajasthan-based advocate, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, as “directed” by the National Human Rights Commission, for an alleged false case against him in 1996, an official spokesman of the government said here on Tuesday. The amount would be recovered from Mr. Bhatt within a month, the spokesman said.

Mr. Bhatt, who was the Banaskantha District Superintendent of Police in 1996, was claimed to have falsely implicated Mr. Rajpurohit under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), allegedly with the motive of getting a rented premises vacated by him.

According to the spokesman, on a complaint filed by Mr. Rajpurohit in 1996, a criminal case was registered against Mr. Bhatt and a charge sheet filed in the court of the Special Judge, NDPS Act. As per the charge sheet, Mr. Rajpurohit was the tenant of the sister of R.R. Jain, then a sitting judge of the Gujarat High Court. To get the tenant to vacate the premises, Mr. Bhatt allegedly planted, with the help of his subordinates, more than a kg of narcotic drugs in a hotel room in Palanpur, district headquarters of Banaskantha, and showed the room to be “occupied” by Mr. Rajpurohit. The latter, at the time, was actually in Pali.

On the instruction of Mr. Bhatt, Mr. Rajpurohit was allegedly “abducted” from Pali by the Banaskantha police on the night of May 3, 1996, and brought to Palanpur, where he was threatened that he would be booked under the NDPS Act if he failed to vacate the premises. Under pressure, the advocate agreed.

Mr. Rajpurohit was remanded for seven days but five days later, Mr. Bhatt ordered his release on the grounds that he could not be “identified” in the Test Identification Parade. Petitions were also filed in the Rajasthan High Court for quashing the criminal complaints filed in the case, but were dismissed.

A criminal complaint against Mr. Bhatt is pending in the Gujarat High Court.

‘Professional misconduct'

A complaint was also filed before the NHRC against Mr. Bhatt and others by the then secretary of the Pali Bar Association, while the Gujarat Vigilance Commission, recommended, in July 2002 and October 2006, Mr. Bhatt's suspension for “professional misconduct.”

The NHRC also, in its report in September 2010 considered it a case of “serious human rights violation” in view of the fact that the provisions under which Mr. Rajpurohit was falsely implicated could have fetched him 10 years of imprisonment, and ordered the Gujarat government to pay him a compensation of Rs.1 lakh, the spokesman said.

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