A Gujarat court on Thursday sentenced former Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt to 20 years imprisonment in the 1996 drug seizure case, Live Law reported.

Bhatt was also fined Rs 2 lakh by the sessions court at Palanpur in Banaskantha district.

He was sentenced to imprisonment under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act sections 21(c) (punishment for contravention in relation to manufactured drugs and preparations) and 27A (punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders), Live Law reported.

The quantum of sentence was given a day after Bhatt was convicted in the 1996 case by the court. The prosecution had sought the maximum punishment of 20 years for Bhatt.

The case pertains to a complaint by a Rajasthan-based lawyer, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, accusing Bhatt among others, of planting 1.15 kg of opium at a Palanpur hotel where he was staying. This came after Rajpurohit was arrested and booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act after the police found drugs in his hotel room.

Bhatt was the district superintendent of police at the time.

In February 2023, the Supreme Court imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Bhatt for challenging a Gujarat High Court order that directed a trial in the drug seizure case against him to be completed by March 31, 2023.

The High Court in 2018 had directed the Crime Investigation Department of the Gujarat Police to take over the case after it was closed in 2000, PTI reported. Bhatt was arrested in 2018 and has been in jail since.

In January, the Gujarat High Court upheld the life sentence given to Bhatt by a Jamnagar sessions court in 2019 in a 1990 custodial torture case.

The custodial torture case dates back to Bhatt’s tenure as the additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar. A former police constable, Pravinsingh Zala, was also convicted in the matter and handed a life term. Both parties had appealed against the Jamnagar court’s verdict finding them guilty of murder.