New Delhi: The Supreme
Court Friday declined to entertain a plea by suspended Gujarat
police officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking quashing of a state government
order withdrawing a revision petition in an alleged case of
custodial death way back in November 1990.
An apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice T.S.
Thakur, however, permitted Bhatt to withdraw his petition with
liberty to pursue an independent revision petition before the
Gujarat High Court.
Appearing for Sanjiv Bhatt, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium
assailed the high court order, saying it was factually incorrect.
He said the high court has recorded the matter relating to the
cognizance of the case settled up to Supreme Court and the
adjudicatory process was over.
While declining to entertain Bhatt's plea, the court said if
Subramanium felt the high court had erred in recording facts, then
he could move it for their revision.
Subramanium pleaded to the court to record that Bhatt's "revision
(petition) on facts is not influenced by the (high court's)
observations on my plea challenging the withdrawal of revision
petition (by the state)".
At this, the court said that "you are an experienced counsel" and
know that no court will decline plea pointing to errors in
recording the facts.
On Oct 10, 1990, 133 people, including one Prabhu Das Vaishnavi,
were arrested in the wake of communal flare-up at Jamjodhpur. They
were kept in police custody for a month before Vaishnavi was
admitted in a hospital upon his release Nov 8, 1990. He died after
10 days in the hospital.
The matter was investigated by the Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) which submitted a closure report saying there was
nothing against Bhatt and other police officers. The post-mortem
report also did not say anything against the police officers.
However, a local magistrate court did not accept the closure
report and took cognizance of the case.
Against this order of the magistrate court, Gujarat government
moved a revision petition which remained pending till July 6, 2011
when the state government withdrew it, thereby exposing Bhatt to
Bhatt has alleged that he was being targeted because he had
accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002
communal riots in the state.