The Delhi special CBI court at Tis Hazari, while cancelling the exemption granted to Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini from personal appearance, on Wednesday directed him to remain present on November 28 in an abduction and elimination case of three members of a Ludhiana-based business family in 1994.
Saini is an accused along with three other police officers in a case filed by the CBI before the Delhi CBI court in an FIR registered on April 18, 1994, at Delhi on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Additional district and sessions judge AK Mehandiratta passed the orders during the resumed hearing of the case when petitioner Ashish Kumar, brother of Vinod Kumar, one of the deceased, informed the court that Saini was pressing and intimidating him and other witnesses in the case.
While passing the orders, the court also directed the Delhi police commissioner to ensure adequate security to Saini during his visit to the Tis Hazari court from November 28 onwards.
Petitioner Ashish Kumar had filed an application for expeditious trial, preferably on day-to-day basis, in a 20-year-old case involving 95-year-old Amar Kaur, Ashish's mother, in view of the alleged attempts being made to press and intimidate the witnesses by the Punjab DGP in the FIR.
"That the accused persons (police officers, including Saini) are delaying the trial of the present case by taking one coercive method or the other and till date the defence (accused police officers) has already taken more than 27 dates only for accused No 1 (Sumedh Singh Saini)…", Ashish Kumar mentioned in his application.
Ashish had made a prayer that the case may be "fixed for day-to-day hearing and appropriate direction may be issued to the accused No 1 namely Sumedh Singh Saini to appear in the present case personally on every hearing of the case, so that cross-examination of the PW 3 (Ashish Kumar) may conclude as early as possible…".
Ludhiana-based businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh had been taken into custody on March 15, 1994, at a police station in Ludhiana after which they went missing.
The CBI had claimed that Saini (then Ludhiana SSP) nursed a grudge against Vinod and booked him in a case of economic offences. The case against Saini and three other police officers, namely Sukhmohinder Singh (then Ludhiana SP), inspector Paramjit Singh (then SHO, Ludhiana) and inspector Balbir Chand Tiwari (then SHO police station Kotwali), was registered by the CBI on the Punjab and Haryana high court directions.
Later, the Supreme Court had transferred the case trial in 2004 from the Ambala court to Delhi on the plea of Vinod's mother Amar Kaur who had alleged that the powerful accused might influence the trial.
The CBI in 2006 had chargesheeted 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 IPC. The CBI court had later framed charges against them.