Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday reserved its order on the petition filed by suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt who has sought relief in the 1990 custodial death case during his posting in Jamnagar.

Justice R H Shukla will pronounce his judgement on July 20 on Bhatt's petition who has prayed the court to quash and set aside the order of Jamnagar Sessions court, which on June 30, had rejected his revision application in the case.

The Sessions court had also scheduled the framing of charges in the custodial death case on July 17. But the High Court on Friday asked the government pleader to instruct his counter part (public prosecutor) in the Sessions court to request for adjournment of case that was to decide on framing of charges till July 20.

The case concerns the death of one Prabhudas Vaishnani who allegedly succumbed to injuries inflicted on him while in custody by the police on the night of October 30, 1990.

As the newly appointed ASP in Jamnagar in October 1990, Bhatt had detained many BJP workers protesting against the arrest of L K Advani after his Rath Yatra was stopped. Prabhudas Vaishnani was one of those who were detained.

Bhatt was assistant superintendent of police at the time. Prabhudas's brother, Amrutlal Vaishnani, had lodged a case against Bhatt and other policemen.

Earlier, the state government had protected Bhatt and refused sanction for his prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is mandatory to take prior permission of the government to prosecute government servants.

However, recently the state government reversed its stand and has given sanction to prosecute Bhatt and other policemen in the case.

Bhatt had recently made allegations against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and accused him of complicity in the communal riots of 2002.

"It is well settled law that the State cannot be allowed to change its stand from time to time. In the present case the State has argued completely opposite to its earlier stand which remained consistent for about 21 years. The said change of stand suffers from malafides and seems to be politically motivated," argued advocate I H Syed, who is representing Sanjeev Bhatt in this case.

(Agencies)

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