Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court recently, quashed the Plea of the ex-Gujarat High Court Judge, along with the Plea of the Gujarat Government to prevent the prosecution of its police officers including Sanjeev Bhatt, who is already in custody.
It is to be noted that the ex-judge Ramanlal Rajmal Jain, along with the ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, faces conspiracy charges of implicating a lawyer Sumersingh Rajpurohit in a 22-year old narcotic case.
The dismissal of these petitions has vacated the stay granted in 2002 against prosecution of the accused in the case charge-sheeted by the Rajasthan Police. The decision now gives complete liberty to the Rajasthan Police to proceed against the accused in the case.
As per the facts, the Supreme Court while dealing with the Plea filed by Jain in 2001, against the probe, stayed the prosecution, and questioned whether the Gujarat HC chief justice complied with the norms and consulted the Chief Justice of India before providing permission to interrogate a High Court judge.
The former judge and the Gujarat Government earlier had resisted the investigation and action by the Rajasthan Police against the officers accused of framing and kidnapping the lawyer to forcibly acquire a property belonging to the ex-judge Jain's sister.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rahotgi, appearing on behalf of the Gujarat Government, informed the Court that since the State Government has already granted the sanctions to prosecute Sanjeev Bhatt and the other accused and the state does not want to pursue its case any more at the Apex court.
Citing the recent develpoments in the case, the Court while dismissing the Plea said, “It is obvious that the State of Gujarat cannot pursue these appeals for protecting the same officer whom they are prosecuting in Gujarat. Accordingly, these appeals are dismissed.”
Mr.Rohatgi further drew court's attention towards the High Court ruling, directing special investigation team CID to probe the FIR lodged against the lawyer, who claimed that Jain, then Superintendent of Police Bhatt and Banaskantha police had implicated the lawyer in the narcotics case.
There were two FIRs filed, one by the Rajasthan Police on the complaint by the lawyer being framed by Jain and Bhatt, and the other, by the Gujarat Police against the lawyer under the NDPS Act.
Bhatt, who was the-then superintendent of the Banaskantha police arrested Sumersingh Rajpurohit, an advocate, in 1996 over charges of possessing drugs, claiming that drugs were found from a hotel room used by Rajpurohit.
It was alleged that 1.15 kg of opium was found in the room of Palanpur hotel where Sumersingh Rajpurohit was staying. However, later on, a probe by Rajasthan police claimed that Sumersingh was not guilty and was falsely implicated by the Banaskantha Police due to a property dispute.
In pursuant to this revelation by Rajasthan police, Bhatt’s name was dragged along with seven others and following the same, in 1999, IB Vyas, former police inspector of Banaskantha, approached Gujarat High Court seeking a thorough probe of the case.
Nonetheless, in June 2018, the High Court transferred the case to the CID, which claimed that Bhatt was the mastermind of this crime. Bhatt was sacked by the union ministry in 2015 on the grounds of ‘unauthorised absence’ from service. The property in question belonged to the sister of ex-judge Ramanlal Rajmal Jain which was the root of the whole alleged conspiracy.