Sanjiv Bhatt

Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was sentenced to life imprisonment for a 1990 custodial death case of Prabhudas Vaishnani.


Sanjiv Bhatt is a  former IPS officer alma mater of IIT Bombay. Joined the Indian Police service in 1988 and was allotted the Gujarat cadre. From 1999 to 2002, he worked as Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the State Intelligence Bureau. Bhatt was in charge of internal security, including the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi’s security.

Life and Activism

In 2003, Sanjiv Bhatt served as a jail superintendent in Sabramti central jail. During his tenure, he was admired by his prisoners for introducing desirable changes. Nearly 4,000 inmates went on hunger strike against his unanticipated transfer. In 2011 Bhatt filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging the role of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat pogrom. He claimed to have attended a meeting where Narendra Modi told officials that Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger against Muslims. Modi said in his testimony that Bhatt as a junior officer, was not present in the meeting. Bhatt was subsequently targeted for one or another reason. One year after Modi came to power, Bhatt was officially removed from Police Service in 2015 because of ‘unauthorized absence.’

Circumstances of arrest

Bhatt was arrested in 2018 for allegedly falsely implicating an advocate in 1996 relating to banned drugs. In 2019, A session court in Jamnagar sentenced life imprisonment to Sanjiv Bhatt for the custodial death case of Prabhudas Vaishanani. Bhatt was an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Jamnagar in 1990. Bhatt arrested a hundred people in relation to the communal clashes that erupted in Jamnagar. The complainant alleged that Bhatt committed atrocities, due to which one of the detainees lost his life.

Charges and Allegations

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. 

Current status

In 2019, Bhatt wrote in his letter  from Palanpur, “it is obvious that the current political narrative and rhetoric have clouded our capacity for reason but, have also deprived us of our ability to differentiate between good and evil…today we are on the threshold of unprecedented darkness.” He is languishing in jail since 2018. 

Last update

In June 2022, the Supreme Court confirmed a clean chit by SIT to Narendra Modi. The Gujarat Police arrested Sanjiv Bhatt from prison in connection with the Gujarat riots case. He was arrested on a transfer warrant.

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