A local court in Jamnagar, on Thursday, framed charges against Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a custodial death case. The court has framed charges against seven persons including Bhatt for murder. Bhatt was assistant Suprintendent of Police (ASP), Jamnagar when the incident occurred in 1990.
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 is currently under suspension. He was suspended after he took on Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of asking the police to go slow on Hindus during the 2002 riots in which 1200 people were killed.
On October 24, the court had rejected Bhatt's plea opposing framing of charges against him and other six cops, who were accused of beating the person to death in police custody.
There have been many turns and twists in the 21 year old case. Initially, Gujarat government had shielded Bhatt in legal proceedings but the state took a u-turn after Bhatt accused the CM of complicity in anti-minority riots in the state.
Bhatt and others had filed a revision petition earlier this year as the state government had withdrawn the revision petition it had filed in 1995 opposing any criminal action against the policemen. After Bhatt's stand against Modi, the state government had given sanction for prosecution of the policemen including Bhatt.
The policemen had opposed criminal proceedings against them on the ground that they were doing their official duty and the deceased had not been subjected to custodial torture as alleged. However, according to the government pleader, the court rejected their petition saying that there is no reasonable connection between official duty and custodial torture.