Added on : 2019-06-20 14:41:48
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. Besides Bhatt, Police-constable Pravinsinh Jhala has also been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case.
“The court found Pravinsinh Zala and Sanjiv Bhatt guilty under IPC section 302 and thus sentenced them to life imprisonment under IPC section 302. Rest of the accused were found guilty under section 323, 506 for custodial torture,” said Tushar Gokani and Madhu Mehta, special public prosecutors in the case.
The verdict was given out by judge DM Vyas, and quantum of punishment is awaited for the rest of the five accused.
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.