Supreme Court Adjourns Sanjiv Bhatt's Plea To Produce Additional Evidence In Appeal Challenging Conviction In Custodial Death Case

Update: 2022-12-06 07:31 GMT

The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to next week the hearing of the petition filed by former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking to adduce additional evidence in the criminal appeal filed by him in the Gujarat High Court challenging his conviction in a 1990 custodial death case. Bhatt has filed the Special Leave Petition challenging the order passed by the High Court on August 24 which denied permission to him to produce additional evidence in the appeal.

A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Hima Kohli adjourned the hearing at the request of the counsel for the complainant in the case.

Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing for Bhatt, expressed an apprehension that the High Court will hear the appeal in the meantime

"The difficulty is, the hon'ble High Court had kept this matter only till today. The State had also taken time on last date. We will request the hon'ble High Court to have the appeal heard after a week and let them cooperate with us", the senior counsel submitted.

"Nothing will happen in a week. The matter is going on and it has been heard in part", the counsel appearing for the State of Gujarat submitted.

The bench orally asked the State's counsel to cooperate with the petitioner in seeking adjournment before the High Court.

"Til next date of hearing, see to it that you cooperate in getting the adjournment", Justice Shah orally told the counsel of the State.

In July 2019, the Sessions Court at Jamnagar in Gujarat had sentenced Bhatt to life imprisonment after finding him guilty for the custodial death of one Prabhudas Madhavji Vaishnani in 1990. Before the trial court, he had filed an application to produce expert evidence of one doctor to support his argument that the death of Prabhudas was not due to the alleged sit ups he was made to do forcefully by the police. The trial court had rejected the application.

In the criminal appeal filed before the Gujarat High Court, Bhatt filed an application under Section 391 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking to adduce the expert evidence. On August 24, 2022, a division bench of Justices Vipul M Pancholi and Sandeep N Bhatt dismissed the application.  

In April 2011, Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 riots. He claimed to have attended a meeting convened by the then CM, Mr. Modi, on February 27, 2002, the day of the communal riots, when instructions were allegedly given to the State Police to not take any action against the perpetrators of violence.

The Court appointed SIT however gave clean chit to Modi. In 2015, Bhatt was removed from the police service, on the ground of "unauthorised absence".

In October 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed Bhatt's plea for constituting a special investigation team (SIT) for cases filed against him by Gujarat Government.

Case Title : SANJIVKUMAR RAJENDRABHAI BHATT vs. THE STATE OF GUJARAT | SLP(Crl) No. 9445/2022

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