Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt sentenced to life in 30-year-old case

Ahmedabad: Jamnagar Sessions Court on Thursday sentenced former Gujarat-cadre IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt and head constable Pravinsinh Zala to life imprisonment in a 30-year-old custodial death case.

The Jamnagar Court order comes a week after the Supreme Court refused to entertain the sacked IPS officer’s plea to examine 11 additional witnesses in 1990 custodial death case.

Bhatt had moved the apex court challenging the Gujarat High Court order that had denied his request to summon additional witnesses for examination during the trial. The Supreme Court had, however, directed the lower court to conclude the trial by June 20.

According to the case details, Bhatt, who was posted as additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar during the communal riots in 1990, had detained 133 people.

Prabhu Vaishnani, one of the detainees, died in hospital on November 18 after he was released from police custody. Later, Prabhu’s brother Amrut Vaishnani lodged a complaint against Bhatt and six other police personnel for custodial torture on his brother while in detention.

Bhatt had alleged that Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, was complicit in the riots of 2002. However, his claims were rejected by the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court to probe nine riots related cases.

Bhatt, a Gujarat cadre IPS was suspended by the state government in 2011 for the long absence from duty and was later sacked for the same in August 2015.

In 2018, Bhatt was arrested by the CBI in connection with a 23-year-old case of allegedly planting drugs.

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