SC reserves order on anticipatory bail plea of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini

ANI
·4-min read
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

New Delhi [India], November 17 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on an anticipatory bail plea of former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini seeking protection from arrest in a case related to alleged abduction and murder of a Junior Engineer Balwant Singh Multani in 1991.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the order after hearing all parties in the case and said it will pass a reasoned order in the case.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Saini argued that the Saini is a highly decorated officer. "There are scores of death threats on this man. He took part in hundreds of operations and busted terror networks. When he was a DGP, he lodged five cases against current Chief Minister," Rohatgi said.

Earlier, the Bench had asked the Punjab government not to proceed in the case for the time being.

Saini was earlier granted three weeks interim protection from arrest in relation to the Balwant Singh Multani murder case by the top court. It had asked Saini to cooperate with the police and investigation in the matter.

Saini has challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court's September 7 order which had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in the case.

On earlier hearing also Rohatgi had argued that Punjab government was after Saini because he had filed two chargesheets in which current Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was named.

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

Later in August, murder charges were 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 the investigation, it was found that Devendar Singh Bhullar, who is on a life sentence and Balwant Singh Multani were involved in the case," claimed in the plea.

Balwant Singh Multani's father Darshan Singh Multani filed a petition before Punjab and Haryana High Court stating that his son and Bhullar have been eliminated by police officials.

"In 2008, CBI also registered a case against Saini that was later quashed by the Supreme Court," plea has said.

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.

"When the State of Punjab was going through a difficult period, he took an active part in counter-terrorism and anti-insurgency operations. The applicant is a decorated officer and was awarded the President's Police Medal for gallantry and The Wound Medal (now referred to as Prakarm medal). He has been a target of anti-national and terrorist elements," the petition has stated.

It has said the applicant did not accept any reward money for the arrest/ elimination of terrorists and declined compensation when his parental house was burnt by terrorists.

The petition said that in 2015, as the state DGP, the applicant led the police operations at Dinanagar police station where 3 Pakistan Fidayeens were killed.

"The applicant is one of the prime targets of anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements," it has said.

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".

It has also said that the applicant during his tenure as Inspector General of Police, Intelligence, Punjab was instrumental in unearthing "a major corruption network" related to then then Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission. (ANI)