Ahmedabad: Jamnagar Sessions Court on Thursday sentenced sacked IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt to life imprisonment in 1990 custodial death case. The sentence was handed out under IPC Section 302.
Another police officer Praveen Singh Jhala has also been sent to prison for life.
Last week, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain Bhatt’s plea seeking examination of 11 additional witnesses in the case. The sacked IPS officer had moved the apex court saying that examination of these 11 witnesses was crucial for arriving at a just and fair decision in the case.
The Gujarat Police had opposed his plea, calling it a “tactic to delay the outcome of the case”.
Bhatt was posted as the Additional Superintendent of Police in Gujarat’s Jamnagar in 1990. The prosecution said Bhatt had then detained more than a hundred persons during a communal riot and one of the detainees had died in hospital after he was released. He was then suspended in 2011 on charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles. In 2015, he was sacked.
Bhatt has been embroiled in another case where he allegedly framed a lawyer. He was arrested from his Ahmedabad home by the state CID-crime on September 5 last year in the 1996 drug-planting case. The arrest followed Gujarat High Court’s direction to the CID to probe the case. In this case, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, a Rajasthan-based lawyer, was booked for allegedly keeping 1.15 kg opium at a Palanpur hotel room in 1996. Rajpurohit had filed a case that year against Bhatt, who was then SP.
Bhatt had even moved a bail application on several grounds, including the delay in the investigation into the case. He said that he had been interrogated and had “deep roots in society with movable and immovable property. Thus, is not likely to abscond or tamper with evidence and/or jump the bail, there is no legal evidence against him and he has no criminal antecedents”, yet his plea was rejected.