Bhatt to face charges in 1990 custodial death case

Both HC and Jamnagar court decide it is time to frame charges against all seven accused,including the suspended IPS officer.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad/ Jamnanagar | Published: October 24, 2012 2:42:20 am

Both HC and Jamnagar court decide it is time to frame charges against all seven accused,including the suspended IPS officer

In a major setback to suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt,a Jamnagar court on Tuesday ordered framing of charges against him and six policemen accused in a 22-year-old custodial death case.

Bhatt had moved the sessions court challenging framing of charges against him in the case.

The sessions court will frame charges against all the seven accused on October 30 after the Gujarat High Court today dismissed a revision application by the co-accused and directed that charges be framed against all the accused in four weeks.

The co-accused had challenged the Jamnagar sessions court’s order of rejecting their application challenging a magisterial court’s order to initiate criminal proceedings in the matter.

The High Court also directed the lower court to expedite the trial in the 22-year-old case and further directed the sessions court not to interrupt the trial unless there was any order either from the High Court or the Supreme Court.

The case concerns the death of one Prabhudas Vaishnani who allegedly succumbed to the injuries inflicted on him while in custody. The police had allegedly thrashed him while he was in custody at the police station on the night of October 30,1990.

Bhatt,who has alleged complicity of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2002 post-Godhra riots,was assistant superintendent of police at the time in Jamnagar.

Prabhudas’s brother,Amrutlal Vaishnani,had lodged a case against Bhatt and the other policemen.

Case recap

According to case details,in 1990,riots broke out at Jamkhambhalia in Jamnagar district. Bhatt,who was reportedly asked by the then SP to go to the spot and control the situation,rounded up around 150 people,one of whom was Prabhudas Vaishnani. They all were sent to jail after their arrest and were subsequently freed on bail from court. Prabhudas later died of renal failure.

Prabhudas’s brother Amrutlal lodged an FIR against Bhatt and six other policemen accusing them of murder by custodial torture.

The investigation in the case was handed over to CID (Crime),which submitted a summary report. The same was rejected by the court,which also ordered criminal proceedings against the accused officers.

However,the state government opposed this order with a revision petition before the sessions court in Jamnagar.

The twist in the case came when the state government withdrew its revision application some time ago.

Bhatt and other accused officers then moved a discharge application before the sessions court in Jamnagar,which rejected the petition.

Six of the accused then moved HC,where Justice M R Shah dismissed their petition today.

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