The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday granted the state government’s request seeking time to present relevant documents pertaining to an application by jailed former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking the suspension of his sentence in a case of custodial death in which he was convicted by a Jamnagar court.
Stating that the depositions presented by Bhatt’s legal representatives were incomplete, the state government is now expected to bring forth more relevant documents on the court’s records so that the court can decide on Sanjiv Bhatt’s application seeking a suspension of his sentence.
Bhatt had moved the high court last month, appealing against his June conviction by a Jamnagar Sessions Court. On June 20, the Jamnagar Sessions Court had found Bhatt guilty under IPC section 302 (murder), section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and section 506 (1) (punishment for offence of criminal intimidation) in relation to a 1990 case of custodial torture at Jamnagar and had sentenced him to life imprisonment. The appeal was admitted by the division bench in the high court last month. At present, Bhatt is lodged in the district jail at Palanpur in judicial custody.
The case dates back to October 30, 1990 when Bhatt, then posted as additional superintendent of police of Jamnagar district, and other police officers, arrested 133 persons from Jamjodhpur town of the district for allegedly engaging in rioting amid a nationwide bandh call given by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad to protest against BJP president LK Advani’s arrest during the BJP leader’s rath yatra.
Prabhudas (40) and his youngest brother Rameshchandra were among the 133 who had been arrested by police and booked under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.
They were sent to Jamnagar jail the following day after being remanded in judicial custody and were released on bail on November 8, 1990. Pradbhudas’ immediate younger brother Amrtulal had his two brothers admitted to NM Virani Hospital in Rajkot after doctors in Jamnagar told him that the two brothers had renal problems. While undergoing treatment for kidney complications, 40-year-old Prabhudas died in the Rajkot hospital on November 18, 1990.
Doctors attributed his death to to acute renal failure and cardio-respiratory arrest. The Jamnagar Court convicted Bhatt on the basis of evidence that said the renal failure and cardiac arrest were caused as a result of internal injuries sustained during police torture.