Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt cites threat in central jails | India News

AHMEDABAD: After a Palanpur court convicted him in a 1996 drug planting case, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has urged the Gujarat high court to direct the state govt and jail authorities not to shift him to a central jail, citing threats from dreaded criminals and terrorists that he had nabbed during service.
The state govt opposed this, asking which terrorist had Bhatt apprehended when he had not served at any executive position for 20-25 years.
Bhatt filed a petition on March 28, the day the Palanpur district court sentenced him to 20 years in jail in the NDPS case and ordered that he be shifted to the custody of the Jamnagar district court, which in June 2019 had sentenced him to life imprisonment in a 1990 custodial death case. The Palanpur court also ordered that Bhatt’s 20-year sentence in the NDPS case begin after he completes the life imprisonment awarded earlier by the Jamnagar district court.
During a hearing on Wednesday, Bhatt’s counsel, Kruti Shah, submitted that the former IPS officer’s safety is the main concern.
“Being an IPS officer, he has apprehended many hardcore criminals and people involved in terrorist activities and serious offences, who are lodged in central jails in the state. This is the first apprehension,” she argued, highlighting the prayer to keep Bhatt at the Palanpur sub-jail, where he has been since his arrest in 2019. She submitted that Bhatt has been undergoing the sentence imposed by the Jamnagar court in Palanpur jail, as reflected in the custody certificate.
Additional advocate general Mitesh Amin argued that any prisoner convicted to a life term of 20 years is required to be placed in a central jail because of the prison rules. He rebutted Bhatt’s argument that his safety might be compromised in a central jail, “On what basis will this court decide on his jail transfer? Merely because he was an IPS officer? He ceased to be in any executive post for the last 20-25 years. Where are those dreaded terrorists from whom there is any threat to him?”
While Bhatt’s advocate continued to emphasize Bhatt’s safety in pushing his demand to be kept at the Palanpur jail only where he spent more than five years as an undertrial prisoner in the NDPS case, the government’s top law officer told the court that the govt is duty-bound to keep Bhatt safe and secure. Justice H D Suthar posted a further hearing on April 18.
Bhatt’s faceoff with the state govt began in 2011 when he filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging that the then-chief minister Narendra Modi had ordered senior bureaucrats to go slow on rioters during a meeting at his residence on Feb 27, 2002, after the Godhra train burning. Bhatt has been facing charges of coercing his subordinate to falsely swear a statement proving his presence at Modi’s residence.

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