A court in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district on Friday rejected the bail application of former Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt, PTI reported. Bhatt was arrested in September for allegedly planting drugs on a lawyer who was held from Palanpur in Banaskantha district in 1996.

Bhatt termed the investigation “abuse of law” and moved a bail application on several grounds, including that the investigation into the case was delayed, reported The Indian Express. Bhatt said he had already been questioned and that there was no legal evidence against him.

The Banaskantha district police led by Bhatt had arrested Sumersingh Rajpurohit, a Rajasthan-based lawyer, for possessing around a kilogramme of opium in 1996. The police had claimed the drugs were found in a hotel room occupied by Rajpurohit in Palanpur.

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.

In June, the Gujarat High Court handed over the inquiry to the state Crime Investigation Department.

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 that 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.