SC asks Punjab govt to place chargesheet filed against former Punjab DGP

ANI
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New Delhi [India], January 5 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Punjab government to place before it the chargesheet filed against former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini in a case related to alleged abduction and murder of Junior Engineer Balwant Singh Multani in 1991.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said as the matter is pending before it, it asked the Magistrate to defer the date of summon on which Saini was asked to appear before it.

"Gopal Subramanium, senior counsel for the State, seeks time to place the chargesheet and additional documents on the record. Let him do within two weeks. It has been informed by counsel for the State that matter is fixed by the Magistrate on January 22 for the appearance of the petitioner (Saini). In view of the fact that we are hearing this matter, it shall be appropriate for the Magistrate to postpone the date by the end of February, 2021," the order of the apex court stated while posting the matter before it for hearing in February second week.

Saini has challenged in the top court a Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing of the FIR in the 1991 Multani murder case. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 7 dismissed his plea for quashing the case.

Senior advovate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Saini told the apex court Bench that he was challenging the High Court order which had refused to quash the FIR against him. He urged that apex court to stay the proceedings of the chargesheet.

"There is security threat to my client," Rohatgi added.

Senior advovate Gopal Subramanium appearing for Punjab government said chargesheet has been filed in the case. He said this matter has to be heard and it needs consideration.

"We will place the copy of chargesheet and additional documents. Summons to Saini to appear before the Magistrate has been issued," he added.

The Bench then asked Punjab government to place the chargesheet before it and it will hear the case thereafter.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for the original complainant contended that this case is a very serious case which involves charges of kidnapping and murder, Saini is facing three other murder charges.

Earlier on December 3, 2020 the top court had granted anticipatory bail to Saini in the case after he had approached the court seeking protection from arrest.

Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, who was the youngest DGP in the country, was booked along with six others in May last year at Mataur police station in Mohali for the alleged kidnapping of Multani, wrongful confinement, among other charges in 1991.

Later in August murder charge was added to the FIR, after two co-accused turned approvers, and in their statement, claimed to be witnesses to the torture meted out to Balwant Singh Multani, under the custody of former DGP Saini, who was then the SSP of Chandigarh.

Multani worked with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation (Citco) and was picked up by the police after a terrorist attack on Saini, who was then Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police. Saini was injured in the attack and three policemen were killed.

Saini retired in 2018 after 36 years of service and, in his petition, has also sought quashing of FIR.

The petition before the top court has alleged that the case against the former DGP was an example of "politically motivated conspiracy" by the present Punjab government.

It was claimed that Multani "fled from the police custody on December 19,1991". "In 1991, Saini was posted as SSP in Chandigarh. On August 29, 1991, the blast took place. During investigation, it was found that Devendar Singh Bhullar, who is on a life sentence, and Balwant Singh Multani were involved in the case," it was claimed in the plea.

It was alleged that when COVID-19 was at a peak, under "a politically motivated conspiracy an FIR was registered against Saini on same facts by the state government".

The plea has said FIR was initially registered under Section 364 and Section 302 was added later.

"The FIR registered under kidnapping charges has now been converted into murder. The state machinery is haunting Saini. These are totally baseless allegations," it has said.

Saini was part of then DGP KPS Gill's team that helped eliminate terrorism in the state. His bail petition earlier said that he has an outstanding service record.

The petition has also said that after abatement of terrorism in Punjab, the applicant has been involved in unearthing various scams and scandals. It has said the applicant served as Head of the State Vigilance Bureau from 2007 to 2012 and during his tenure "a number of criminal cases were registered against members of the political party, which is now in power in the State of Punjab". (ANI)