The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put a stay on the arrest of suspended Punjab inspector general of police Gautam Cheema in a case registered against him and accomplices at SAS Nagar for kidnapping proclaimed offender (PO) Sumedh Gulati.
The court also directed him to join the investigation on October 17 at the police station concerned. The court led by justice Jitendra Chauhan came out with the direction after hearing a pre-arrest bail petition by Cheema, who is on the run. The suspended IG had moved the high court after the SAS Nagar additional district and sessions judge had denied him bail on September 29.
On August 30, the SAS Nagar police had registered a case against Cheema and his accomplice, Ajay Chowdhary, mainly on the ground that the IG had gone to the police station with Chaudhary, kidnapped a proclaimed offender in a private vehicle, and taken him to Max Hospital, SAS Nagar. Two more people had accompanied them allegedly.
Justice Chauhan observed: “From the video clipping furnished by the prosecution (played before the court), it emerges that the petitioner (Cheema) and the alleged proclaimed offender (the kidnapped man) were not in the same car. In fact, the petitioner was already at Max Hospital prior to the arrival of Sumedh Gulati. Neither the number of vehicle, nor the colour or make of it is reflected in the FIR (first-information report).”
The court further observed that the photographs from the toll plaza footage from Panipat and Karnal indicated unerringly that co-accused Chaudhary was at the toll plaza around the relevant time; and further the petitioner was an IPS (Indian Police Service) officer in the IG cadre and had put in meritorious service as reflected in the petition.
Gulati’s counsel argued that the PO had been kidnapped from the police station and taken to hospital. The state government counsel opposed Cheema’s bail application strongly, submitting that the IG had taken away the proclaimed offender in a private vehicle.
Cheema’s counsel submitted the details of the cases/complaints against alleged conman Devinder Singh Gill, Kricpy Khera (Gill’s wife), and Gulati; and stated that the police had implicated the petitioner at the instance of these people.
The next hearing is on November 3.