Ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt sentenced to life in three-decade-old custodial death case

By NL Team

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A Gujarat court on Thursday sentenced former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in a custodial death case dating back to 1990, reports ANI.

The Jamnagar Sessions Court charged Bhatt under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with punishment for murder. Besides Bhatt, police constable Pravinsinh Jhala has also been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case, reported The Hindu.

After the hearing, public prosecutor Tushar Gokani told the media: “After the complete trial in 1990 Jam Jodhpur custodial death case, Jamnagar Sessions Court today booked accused Sanvij Bhatt and Pravinsinh Jhala under Section 302 while the others are booked for torturing. For IPC 302 minimum punishment is life imprisonment and the maximum is death.”

The Hindu reports: The case pertains to the death of a man named Prabhudas Madhavji Vaishnani who died on 11 November 1990, allegedly due to torture in police custody. He was among 133 people who were detained and later released in Jamjodhpur town of Jamnagar district during a communal riot. After they were released, Vaishnani had died in hospital.” According to The Hindu, Vaishnani’s brother Amritbhai had filed a case of custodial torture and death against Bhatt, the then additional superintendent of police, constable Jhala and six other policemen, alleging that the victim was severely thrashed and tortured in custody.

This case went for three decades after which the SC ordered that the judgement should be given before June 20 this year by the Jamnagar Sessions Court. Bhatt was suspended in 2011 on “charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles” and later sacked in August 2015.