SC denies relief to IPS officer Bhatt

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to quash proceedings against suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a 21-year-old alleged custodial death case.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and T S Thakur refused to grant any relief to the Gujarat-cadre officer against the state high court`s order, which had dismissed his plea for quashing of criminal proceedings related to the case pending against him in a Jamnagar court.

The custodial death case dates back to 1990 when Bhatt was posted as additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar. He had detained around 150 persons during a communal riot in Jam Jodhpur town. One of those arrested, Prabhudas Vaishnani, had died in a hospital after his release.

Vaishnani`s brother had then lodged an FIR against Bhatt and six other police officials accusing them of killing his sibling by torturing him in detention.

The high court had allowed the trial court to frame charges against Bhatt in the case, while rejecting on October 10 his plea that challenged the Jamnagar sessions court order. The court had permitted the state government to withdraw its plea to drop charges related to the custodial death case.

The state government`s plea to the court to withdraw charges against Bhatt and other police officials was pending with it since 1996. The state government, however, had refused sanction for IPS officer Bhatt`s prosecution.

A magisterial court, however had, refused to accept the closure report in the case and the government filed a revision application in the sessions court requesting that the charges be dropped against Bhatt and other police officials.