Ahmedabad: Three senior IPS officers in Gujarat were discharged by a sessions court here Friday in a 24-year-old case of custodial torture.
Giving relief to IPS officers Ashish Bhatia, Atul Karwal and A K Surolia, the city sessions court noted that the lower court had not obtained the state government’s sanction before initiating inquiry against them.
The three officers were accused of thrashing a man in police custody in 1994.
Additional Sessions Judge V J Kalotra cited Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which provides that IPS officers can not be prosecuted without a government sanction.
The court also discharged former police sub-inspector J V Surela.
The police officers had approached the sessions court after a metropolitan magistrate decided to go ahead with framing of charges against them.
The officers were accused of torturing a man called Salim Khan Pathan, arrested in a case related to illegal liquor sale, during interrogation.
Pathan’s wife Nazma Bano had approached the High Court against these police officers. On the high court’s orders, the magistrate’s court started an inquiry.
The IPS officers argued that government’s sanction was necessary to prosecute them as they were discharging their official duty when the alleged incident took place.
Ashish Bhatia is currently Director General of Police, (DGP), state CID-Crime.
A K Surolia is DGP of the Anti-Terrorism Squad. Atul Karwal, having the rank of Additional DGP, is on deputation with the Central Reserve Police Force.