Jamnagar sessions court in Gujarat sentenced former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment for a custodial death case dating back to 1990. The sessions court charged him under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with punishment for murder.
"After a complete trial in the 1990 Jam Jodhpur custodial death case, the Jamnagar session court, on 20 June, booked accused Sanjiv Bhatt and Pravinsinh Jhala under Section 302 while others were booked for torturing," public prosecutor Tushar Gokani told the media after the hearing.
The case pertains to the death of a Prabhudas Madhavji Vaishani, who died on 11 November 1990 due to alleged torture in police custody. He was among the 133 people detained at the communal riots that took place at Jam Jodhpur ahead of former BJP leader LK Advani's rath yatra. Bhatt was posted as the Additional Superintendent of Police in Jamnagar when the incident took place.
Bhatt was suspended in 2011 following charges on him for missing duty without permission and for misusing official vehicles. He was sacked from service in 2015.
On October 4, 2018, the apex court dismissed his wife Shweta Bhatt's plea, challenging the police probe and his judicial custody in another 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest an advocate, and said he could approach an "appropriate forum" for relief.
Sanjiv Bhatt was Banaskantha district superintendent of police in 1996. Banaskantha Police under Bhatt arrested an advocate called Sumer Singh Rajpurohit in 1996 on charges of possessing around 1 kg of drugs. At the time, Banaskantha Police claimed that drugs were found in a hotel room occupied by Rajpurohit in the district's Palanpur town. However, a probe by Rajasthan Police concluded that Rajpurohit was allegedly falsely implicated by Banaskantha Police to compel him to transfer a disputed property at Pali in Rajasthan. It also claimed to have found that Rajpurohit was allegedly abducted by Banaskantha Police from his residence at Pali.