Decks were cleared for framing of charges against suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who is at loggerheads with Narendra Modi government, in an over two decade-old case of alleged police atrocity with a local court today rejecting his plea to pardon the delay in filing review petition.
Bhatt's application was turned do1n by judge N P Solanki in Jamkhambhalia in the 1990 case against him and other officers which had resulted in the death of one person.
Bhatt's lawyer I H Sayed said they would be challenging the rejection of their condonation of delay plea in the Gujarat High Court soon.
Public prosecutor Vimal Chotai said that the next hearing in the case has been scheduled on February 28, when the court would decide on framing of charges against Bhatt.
He said that the court was also in the process of hearing discharge pleas of six other accused in the case. Bhatt has not filed discharge application till date.
Bhatt has also approached the Supreme Court, challenging a Gujarat High Court order, denying him relief by way of stay on criminal proceedings against him in the case.
The high court, while refusing to stay the criminal proceeding against Bhatt, had observed that the framing of charges against Bhatt would be subject to outcome of his criminal revision and condonation of delay applications which the Jamnagar court would be deciding upon.
Chotai said with the rejection of condonation of delay application, Bhatt's plea in Supreme Court is likely to become infructuous.
Bhatt had created a flutter by implicating chief minister Naredra Modi in the 2002 riots.
According to case details, one Prabhudas Vaishnani, who was arrested during a communal flare-up in Jamkhambhalia town in Jamnagar in 1990, died in a hospital few days after he was released from police custody.
Following this, Vaishnani's brother Amrutlal filed complaint against Bhatt and six others. The Gujarat government then took the position that Bhatt and others had acted in discharge of duty and filed a revision petition in the session court in 1996, halting the criminal proceedings.
This revision petition was withdrawn by the state government in July last year, thereby exposing Bhatt and others to prosecution.