The Crime Investigation Department of the Gujarat Police on Wednesday arrested former Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt for allegedly planting drugs on a lawyer who was held from Palanpur in Banaskantha district in 1996, ANI reported.

Bhatt, who was the Banaskantha superintendent of police at the time, and seven others – including former policemen attached with the Banaskantha police – are being questioned, said Director General of Police (CID) Ashish Bhatia.

The district police led by Bhatt had arrested Sumersingh Rajpurohit for possessing around a kilogramme of opium. The police had claimed the drugs were found in a hotel room occupied by Rajpurohit in Palanpur.

However, the Rajasthan Police later concluded that Rajpurohit had been falsely implicated by Bhatt and other police officers. They also claimed that the Banaskantha police had abducted Rajpurohit from his residence at Pali in Rajasthan. In his complaint, the lawyer alleged that the police officers had implicated him in the case to force his family to vacate a rented premises owned by the sister of former Gujarat High Court judge Ramanlal Rajmal Jain.

“Three to four months back, the Gujarat High Court had asked the CID to investigate this case and we had formed a Special Investigation Team, which found Sanjiv Bhatt had made out a false case against the lawyer,” Bhatia told The Indian Express.

Bhatt is a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has claimed to have been at a meeting held in the aftermath of the 2002 Godhra incident where Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat at that time, said Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger. He has been a focal point of the public demand for justice in the Gujarat riot cases.