After former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was sentenced to life imprisonment in a 30 year old custodial death case, his wife Shweta took to social media and released not only a press statement, but also copies of Bhatt's submissions in court and the cause of death report for the deceased in the case.
Taking to Facebook from her husband's account Shweta said, "The sessions court today sentenced Sanjiv to Life Imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. To all of you who have stood by Sanjiv as his pillar of support - Your words of support are comforting and encouraging, but words without action will amount to nothing. Your support will mean nothing if you let such travesty of justice happen to a man who has done nothing but serve his country and his people diligently."
She went on to ask all Indians to join their fight for justice saying, "We as a nation are going through an extremely dark phase. We shall continue fighting till our last breath, the only thing remaining to see is whether we will be fighting a lone fight? Or will the people of this sovereign democracy fight for a man who never stopped fighting for them."
The press release laid down a blow by blow account of the days during which the custodial death case took place, right from the riots in wake of LK Advani's arrest during the 1990 Rath Yatra. It attempts to clarify how Bhatt had no motive, means or even opportunity to torture the deceased. The statement says, "At no point in time were any of the arrested 133 persons including the deceased and his brother were in custody of Shri Sanjiv Bhatt or any of his staff. None of the arrested 133 persons including the deceased and his brother were interrogated by Shri Sanjiv Bhatt or any of his staff." The statement further reads, "30th October 1990, the day of the communal violence and the subsequent arrest of Prabhudas Madhavji Vaishnani, was only the 20th day of Shri Sanjiv Bhatt’s posting in Jamnagar. He did not know any of the persons arrested, let alone have a grudge against anyone."
The statement showcases how, according to the family, it is a clear case of vendetta saying,"The complaint of custodial torture was made by Amrutlal Madjavji Vaishnani who also happens to be an active member of the VHP/BJP after the demise of the Mr. Prabhudas Madhavji Vaishnani." It also adds, "The complaint filed against Shri Sanjiv Bhatt is a classic case of political vindictiveness, as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Chimanbhai Patel was to face a vote of confidence in the Gujarat Assembly on 1st November 1990 and was very keen to ensure the support of Patel MLAs from the BJP as well as the INC. Shri Sanjiv Bhatt’s refusal to remove the sections of TADA from an offence where majority of the arrested persons were from the Patel community was seen as a personal affront to the then Home Minister Narhari Amin and the then Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel, both of whom happened to belong to the Patel community."
The statement goes on to say, "Shri Sanjiv Bhatt’s superiors in the Police Department as well as the Home department were fully aware that Shri Bhatt was being falsely victimized for having performed his duty with utmost sincerity and diligence. Hence the Home department Government of Gujarat decided to accord Shri Sanjiv Bhatt Legal Assistance vide Government of Gujarat Resolution No. MIS/1090/6152-B dated 9th January 1991. The investigation conducted by CID declared that there was no evidence found against Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, and the state government refused to give sanction to prosecute."
The entire statement may be read here
Shweta also released a copy of Sanjiv Bhatt's submission before the court. She also released a copy of the medical report filed after the body of the deceased was examined. This she hopes showcases further proof of how the death could not have been caused by torture at the hands of Bhatt. Both copies may be read here.