The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Gujarat government to furnish additional evidence relating to custodial death of one Prabhudas Vaishnani in 1990 which led to the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment to Indian Police Service officer Sanjeev Bhatt who was later sacked.
Posting the matter for further hearing on April 18, a bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice C T Ravikumar said that no formal notice is required to be issued in the matter as senior advocate Maninder Singh has already appeared for Gujarat government.
The court asked the Gujarat government to file its reply by April 11.
Appearing for Sanjiv Bhatt, senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, told the bench that the Gujarat government has not filed its reply despite seeking several adjournments.
Bhatt had approached the Supreme Court challenging his conviction in a case of custodial death of Prabhudas Vaishnani, who was caught along with many others by Jamnagar police after a communal riot. In August 2022, Bhatt had withdrawn his plea in the apex court seeking suspension of his life sentence in the 30-year-old custodial death case.
The Gujarat high court had earlier refused to suspend Bhatt’s sentence and observed he had had scant respect for courts and deliberately tried to misuse the process of law. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2019 in the case.
The case relates to the custodial death of Prabhudas Vaishnani, who was among 133 people caught by Jamnagar police after a communal riot broke out following a bandh call in view of BJP leader L K Advani’s Rath Yatra.
Subsequently, Prabhudas Vaishnani’s brother lodged an FIR accusing Bhatt, who was then posted as additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar, and six other policemen of torturing Vaishnani to death in custody.
Bhatt was posted as deputy superintendent of police in the Jam Jodhpur area of the Jamnagar district.