The Gujarat High Court has said that it rejected former state police chief Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea for suspension of his sentence because he has “scant respect for the courts” and “scant regard for the truth”, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. Bhatt is currently in prison after being convicted in a 1990 custodial death case.

Justice Bela Trivedi passed the order against Bhatt’s plea on September 25, but the court made it public only on Monday. The order also noted that with Bhatt convicted for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, he no longer had the initial presumption of innocence available to him. “It appears that the applicant has scant respect for the courts and is in the habit of misusing the process of law and scandalising the court,” the order read.

Bhatt, who took on then-Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over his alleged complicity in the 2002 riots, was given the life sentence in June by a sessions court in Jamnagar. The prosecution had alleged that Bhatt, as an additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar in 1990, had detained more than 100 people in connection with a communal riot and one of them died in hospital after he was released.

Bhatt’s lawyer, BB Naik, claimed in the High Court that the trial had been vitiated. However, the court said: “Whether the trial had vitiated or not on account of non-examination of some of the witnesses by the prosecution or on account of other lapses would be the issues to be considered at the time of final hearing of the appeal.” Justice Trivedi said she was satisfied about the conviction of the applicant, and added that in the absence of any exceptional case made out by Bhatt, the application had to be dismissed.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.