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Saini, judiciary’s bugbear

In Punjab’s bureaucratic and public spheres, Sumedh Singh Saini, evokes strong — and often extreme — reactions.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2009 01:34 IST

In Punjab’s bureaucratic and public spheres, Sumedh Singh Saini, evokes strong — and often extreme — reactions.

His detractors call him a cold blooded, schemer and quirky officer with questionable track record on human rights violation. But, his admirers hail him as a gutsy police official who was in the forefront of fight against terrorism in the ’80s and early ’90s, and one who can take head on even his political and police bosses on issues of corruption.

But, few disagree on Saini’s credentials as an upright officer who has shown the knack for being in the news for both right and wrong reasons. Controversy, in fact, has been his constant companion.

As a blue-eyed officer of then Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill, Saini was battle-hardened by terrorism, which nearly claimed his life when he, as chief of Chandigarh Police, narrowly survived a car bomb attack in 1991.

His ruthless approach in fighting terrorism often brought him at odds with human rights groups and he has been facing some cases for alleged human rights violations. In one such case, registered on the directions of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, the SC has stayed the proceedings.

But Saini shot into the limelight for his audacious investigations into the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam in 2002, and later the Forest Hill Resort case.

In both, Saini was entrusted with investigations by two successive chief justices of Punjab and Haryana HC. And in both cases certain judges of the high court were involved and two of them were transferred from the high court.

No surprise then that he has come to be known as a bugbear for the judiciary — a reputation Saini has lived up again with his unprecedented investigative report against the malpractices in the high court that has created ripples in the judiciary.