A Gujarat court today sentenced sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in a 30-year-old custodial death case. The sentence by the Jamnagar Sessions Court comes a week after the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea by Mr Bhatt to examine 11 additional witnesses, stating that a similar plea had been dismissed on May 24.
The quantum of punishment for the six other policemen convicted in the case has yet to be announced.
The case dates back to 1989 when Sanjiv Bhatt was posted as Additional Superintendent of Police in Gujarat’s Jamnagar district. He had detained approximately 150 people during a communal riot in Jam Jodhpur town. One of those arrested, Prabhudas Vaishnani, died in hospital after his release.
Prabhudas Vaishnani’s brother had lodged a first information report (FIR) naming Sanjiv Bhatt and six other policemen, alleging them of torturing him while in detention.
Mr Bhatt was suspended in 2011 on charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles and later sacked in August 2015.
A month after he was sacked, Mr Bhatt moved the Supreme Court seeking an investigation into the role of BJP chief Amit Shah and two others for what he called their role in trying to subvert the process of justice in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.
He had also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then Gujarat Chief Minister, was complicit in the riots that killed more than 1000 people.
His claims were rejected by the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court to probe nine riots related cases.
Sanjiv Bhatt had also been arrested by the CBI last year in connection with a 23-year-old case of allegedly planting drugs to arrest Sumersingh Rajpurohit, an advocate, on charges of possession.
Mr Bhatt, who was DSP Banaskantha, and seven others, were detained for questioning in the case. They had claimed the drugs were found in Mr Rajpurohit’s hotel room but an investigation found he had been falsely implicated and may have even been abducted by Banaskantha police from his residence.
With inputs from PTI
Ex-Gujarat Top Cop Sanjiv Bhatt Sentenced To Life In Custodial Death Case – NDTV News