Wednesday, September 5, 2012

HC rejects Bhatt’s plea in custodial death case

Gujarat High Court on Friday rejected the plea of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to set aside the orders regarding initiation of criminal procedure initiated against him in the 1990 custodial death case.
    After the pronouncement of the order, Bhatt’s advocate I H Syed requested for a stay on it for four weeks to enable him to challenge it in the Supreme Court. Justice R H Shukla will decide his request on Monday after hearing all the parties of the case.
    The case concerns the death of one Prabhudas Vaishnani who allegedly succumbed to injuries sustained by him while in custody by the police on the night of October 30, 1990
    As the newly appointed ASP in Jamnagar in October 1990, Bhatt had detained many BJP workers protesting against the arrest of LK Advani after his Rath Yatra was stopped. Prabhudas Vaishnani was one of those who were detained. Prabhudas’s brother, Amrutlal Vaishnani, had lodged a case against Bhatt and other policemen.
    Bhatt had, earlier challenged the order of the sessions judge to start hearing of the case and initiate framing of charges against all the accused, including him.
    On July 30, the Sessions Court in Jamnagar rejected Bhatt’s revision application and ordered framing of charges. Bhatt then moved the High Court challenging the Sessions Court order to reject his revision application. He had also challenged the order of metropolitan magistrate, who took the cognisance of Vaishnani’s complaint and ordered to file charges against Bhatt and other policemen, in 1991.
    Initially, the state government had protected Bhatt and refused sanction for his prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. But it reversed its stand and gave sanction to prosecute Bhatt and other policemen in the case later. Bhatt had recently made allegations against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and accused him of complicity in the communal riots of 2002.