New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday imposed a cost of Rs 3 lakh on former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for filing repeated petitions against the trial in the alleged drug planting case.
The top court also dismissed the petitions filed by him alleging bias and unfairness against the presiding trial judge.
A bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Rajesh Bindal imposed costs of Rs 1 lakh each on the three petitions filed by Bhatt. The cost has to be deposited to the Gujarat High Court Advocates Welfare Fund, the apex court said.
In one petition, Bhatt sought the transfer of the trial to the court of the senior most Additional Sessions Judge at Banaskantha, alleging bias on the part of the present trial judge, who is the third Additional Sessions Judge.
Another petition sought for directions to audio-video record the trial court proceedings. The third petition sought to produce additional witnesses in the trial.
As soon as the matter was taken, Justice Vikram Nath asked, "How many times have you been to the Supreme Court? At least a dozen times?"
Justice Nath then pointed out the order passed by the Court in February which rejected his challenge to the High Court's direction to expedite the trial with a cost of Rs 10,000.
"He has been repeatedly approaching the Courts with the best lawyers. Of course, he has no dearth of finances. He can do something for the benefit of lawyers," Justice Nath said directing the costs to be deposited with the Gujarat High Court Advocates Welfare Fund.
Bhatt is at present serving life imprisonment in a custodial death case of 1990. He was convicted in the case in July 2019.
(With LiveLaw inputs)