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The Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph held that the facts of the case are highly contentious, and the Court is not inclined to intervene at this point.
The Court held that Bhatt could apply for regular bail and could approach the High Court in accordance with the law “if so advised” and specified that the “dismissal of this petition will not come in the way of moving an appropriate Court“,
Bhatt had been taken into questioning in relation to a case where he is alleged to have planted drugs to arrest a lawyer during his tenure as District Superintendent of Police at Banaskantha, Gujarat. In 1996, the lawyer was arrested on charges of possessing around 1 kg of drugs. The Rajasthan Police later found that that the lawyer had been falsely implicated by the Banaskantha Police to compel the transfer of some property.
Former police officer IB Vyas had moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 for a thorough inquiry into the matter following these findings by the Rajasthan Police. In June this year, the High Court handed over the task to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Gujarat Police, with a direction that the probe be completed within three months.
The CID in turn is reported to have questioned Bhatt along with seven others earlier this month, ultimately leading to his arrest on September 5. IB Vyas was also arrested along with Bhatt.
Bhatt is known for being a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi-lead government. Prior to his dismissal from service, the former IPS officer had also filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging that the Modi-led Gujarat government had a complicit role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. He was dismissed from service by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2015 on grounds of unauthorised absence from service.