Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Path cleared for Sanjiv Bhatt trial

The Gujarat high court on Friday rejected suspended DIG Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea challenging decisions by lower courts. This has paved the way for charges to be framed against Bhatt in a 22 year-old scustodial death case in Jamnagar.
    Bhatt and six other cops are facing trial in a Jamkhambhalia sessions court in connection with the 1990 alleged custodial death case. A man had died of renal failure after he was detained, along with others, following communal riots.
    Bhatt challenged a 1995 order by a magisterial court taking cognizance of the offence despite the state government’s refusal to sanction the cops’ prosecution. After a medical opinion that the death of Prabhudas Vaishnani was natural, the government filed a plea before the magistrate that the court should not take cognizance of the offence.
    After the magistrate rejected the government decision, the government filed a revision plea before the sessions court requesting that the cops not be prosecuted. This plea was withdrawn by the government after Bhatt implicated chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots. Following this, the path to trial was opened up and Bhatt ran for cover.
    After a cycle of litigation, he along with other cops filed a revision plea before the Jamkhambhalia sessions court stating that they could not be prosecuted for various reasons. He contended the state had not given consent, and court couldn’t take cognizance of offence. He also claimed that the court should have taken the postmortem report into consideration, which showed that the death was natural.
    Bhatt’s revision plea was finally heard and rejected by the Jamkhambhalia court on June 30. This brought Bhatt before the HC, where he challenged the sessions court’s decision as well as the magisterial court’s decision to take cognizance of the offence in 1995.
    However,justice R H Shukla has rejected the suspended cop’s requests. After the order was pronounced, Bhatt’s counsel demanded a temporary stay on the order to allow him to move the apex court. The judge has kept scheduled this hearing for Monday.