Sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had had a running feud with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for years, has been handed life imprisonment by court in a custodial death case. The case is related to an incident occurred in 1990 in the Jamnagar district of Gujarat.
Sanjiv Bhatt, who was the then Additional Superintendent of Police in the district, had arrested around 150 people during a communal riot in 1989. After the release of the arrested, one of them died in hospital. The deceased’s brother filed a case against Jamnagar police, alleging torture in custody and naming Sanjiv Bhatt and other officers.
After 30 years, the trial court in Jamnagar sentenced Sanjiv Bhatt and another officer Pravin Singh Jhala to life. Earlier the court had rejected Bhatt’s plea for examining 11 additional witnesses. Later, the Supreme Court also refused to intervene in the trial.
Sanjiv Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against Narendra Modi (the then Gujarat chief minister) in 2011 alleging his complicity in the 2002 communal riots. However, the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team rejected his allegations.
He was suspended from service in 2011 on charges of unauthorised absence from duty and misuse of official vehicles. In the 2012 Gujarat assembly elections, his wife Shweta Bhatt contested against Modi.
The Supreme Court had observed that Bhatt was involved in political activism, in connivance with the rival political party, and had tried to influence the SC bench, amicus and others involved in adjudication of the Gujarat riots case.
Bhatt was sacked from service in 2015. However, currently he is in custody in a drug planting case of 1996 after being arrested by the CBI in 2018.