Jamnagar: A local court here on Thursday sentenced sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in connection with the 1990 custodial death case.Besides Bhatt (55), constable Pravinsinh Jhala was also convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
District judge D M Vyas held Bhatt guilty of murder under section 302 of the IPC and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Jhala was also awarded the same quantum of punishment.
The case pertains to the death of one Prabhudas Vaishnani, who was among more than 133 persons detained and later released in Jamjodhpur town of Jamnagar district during a communal riot. After his release, Vaishnani died in a hospital on November 18 that year.
Vaishnani's brother Amritbhai filed a case against Bhatt, the then Additional Superintendent of Police, Jamnagar, Jhala and six other policemen, alleging that the victim died due to severe torture in custody. The other five accused were held guilty under section 323 of the IPC and were given a punishment of much lesser period up to a year.
On June 12, the Supreme Court dismissed Bhatt's petition seeking a direction to summon certain additional witnesses for examination during the trial in a three-decade-old custodial death case. The Gujarat government too had opposed his plea, saying that it was a delaying tactic at at time when the lower court has already completed the final hearing and was about to deliver the verdict.
Bhatt, a Gujarat cadre IPS, was suspended by the state government in 2011 for remaining absent from duty without permission, and later sacked for the same in August 2015.He is currently in judicial custody in connection with a drug planting case.(UNI)