A man from Punjab, three members of whose family disappeared after police picked them up in the state in 1994, has opposed the plea of main accused and state director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini to transfer the case from a special CBI court here.
"The applicant accused Saini and three other police officers of trying to delay the case proceedings and halt the trial by filing frivolous applications," Ashish Kumar Walia, brother of one of the disappeared people, submitted in his response to Saini's transfer plea. District and sessions judge AK Chawla will hear the matter further on January 3, 2014.
The case dates back to March 15, 1994, when Ludhiana businessman Vinod Kumar; his brother-in-law, Ashok Kumar; and their driver, Mukhtiyar Singh, were taken into custody in Ludhiana. All three are missing since. In 2006, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had charged Saini and the other accused under Sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Saini seeks the transfer of the case from the court of CBI special judge AK Mendiratta on the ground that during the cross-examination, the court did not record certain observations against the public prosecutor, whom he accused of manipulating witnesses against him.
The special CBI court had earlier cancelled the exemption to Saini from personal appearance and asked him to remain present during the cross-examination of prosecution witness Ashish.
On November 28, judge Mendiratta had expressed strong displeasure over Saini's conduct of "questioning the court's impartiality" because an effort had been made to expedite the trial after almost two decades.
The special CBI judge had said he could not turn a blind eye to the "vexatious conduct of Saini's counsel observed during the recording of the witnesses' statements. "It was part of Saini's delaying tactics," the court had noted.