A Jamnagar sessions court on Thursday sentenced sacked Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in a 1989 custodial death case.
Pronouncing the verdict, Jamnagar District and Sessions Judge D.M. Vyas charged Bhatt and then police constable Pravinsinh Jhala with murder. The judgment on four others is still awaited.
Bhatt is an accused in the 1989 custodial death case during his tenure as the Additional Superintendent of Police in Gujarat's Jamnagar.
The case was allegedly related to a communal riot when Bhatt detained more than a hundred people and one of the detainees died in the hospital upon his release.
Bhatt faced trial under Sections 302, 323, 506 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, reports Bar and Bench.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had declined to consider a plea by Sanjiv Bhatt seeking a fresh examination of witnesses in the case. Bhatt had moved the apex court challenging a Gujarat High Court order, which declined his request to summon certain additional witnesses for examination during the trial in the case. The Gujarat government had informed the apex court that the trial court has already reserved judgement in the 30-year-old custodial death case for June 20.
Bhatt, who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media platforms, has had several spats with the ruling establishment in the state since the 2002 communal riots.
In 2011, Bhatt even filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, accusing Modi of being complicit in the 2002 riots. He was suspended in 2011 for remaining absent without any sanctioned permission and also misusing the allotted official vehicles.
Bhatt was dismissed from the Indian Police Service in 2015 for "unauthorized absence" from service.
Bhatt is currently under detention in connection with a 1996 case relating to falsely framing a lawyer in a narcotics peddling case.