Chandigarh, Sep 23 (PTI) The high court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to give former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini seven days' notice before arresting him for any crime during his entire police career, other than the disappearance of a junior engineer in 1991.
The Supreme Court has already given him interim protection from arrest in the case.
The relief from the Punjab and Haryana High Court came on a day when the former state police chief failed to appear before a special investigation team probing the disappearance of junior engineer Balwant Singh Multani in 1991.
But his lawyer Vinod Ghai said Saini feared he could be arrested by the Punjab Police in some other case when he appeared before the SIT to join the investigation into Multani's disappearance.
Wednesday's high court order by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi protects the former director general of police from this possibility. The case has now been fixed for October 8.
Saini had moved the high court, seeking extension of the relief granted to him in 2018 in which the court had asked the state government to give one weeks' advance notice to Saini if it wanted to arrest him in connection with any criminal case during his stint as DGP, vigilance bureau head and inspector general of police.
The advance notice is meant to enable him to seek remedies available to him.
In his fresh application, Saini sought that the protection granted to him by the high court in 2018 be extended to any incident pertaining to his entire service career.
'A notice of a week is to be given to him (Saini) if he is to be arrested in any case pertaining to any incident during his entire service career,' said Ghai.
The former police officer was apprehensive that he might be arrested by the Punjab police in connection with some other case when he joined the investigation into the disappearance of Multani, his lawyer said.
'In case the applicant/petitioner is sought to be arrested in any case pertaining to any incident during the entire service of the petitioner, other than the incident subject matter of FIR No.77 dated 06.05.2020, then one week's advance notice shall be given to the petitioner before effecting his arrest, so as to enable him to have recourse to remedies available to him in accordance with the law,' stated the court order.
Saini was booked in May by the police in connection with the disappearance of Multani when he was working as a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation. In 1991, Saini was the senior superintendent of police in Chandigarh.
The Supreme Court on September 15 had granted interim protection from arrest to Saini in the Multani case. The apex court had said that Saini was not to be arrested till further orders and he should cooperate in the investigation.
Meanwhile, Saini did not appear before the Special Investigation Team of the Punjab police on Wednesday, a police official said.
The police had summoned Saini to join the investigation at 11 am at Mataur police station in the Multani case.
Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, was the youngest DGP in the country when he was appointed the state police chief in 2012. He was removed from the post in 2015 after protests erupted following sacrilege incidents in the state. Saini retired in 2018.
The police last month added murder charge under section 302 of the IPC in the FIR after two former Chandigarh police personnel -- former UT police Inspector Jagir Singh and former ASI Kuldeep Singh, who are also co-accused -- turned approvers.
Multani, a resident of Mohali, was picked up by the police after a terrorist attack on Saini in 1991. However, the police later claimed that Multani, the son of a former IAS officer, had escaped from Qadian police's custody in Gurdaspur.
Saini and six others were booked on the complaint of Multani's brother, Palwinder Singh Multani, who is a resident of Jalandhar.
The case was registered against them under sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 344 (wrongful confinement), 330 (voluntarily causes hurt) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code at Mataur police station in Mohali. PTI CHS VSD AAR AAR