APS Deol resigns as Punjab advocate general
Criminal lawyer Amar Preet Singh Deol resigned as advocate general of Punjab on Monday. He was appointed on September 27.
Sources said Deol resigned in the afternoon but his resignation was yet to be accepted by the Charanjit Singh Channi government. Neither Deol nor the state government has confirmed the development so far.
Soon after Deol’s appointment, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had resigned from his post, criticising his appointment and also that of director general of police Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota. Sidhu has been adamant on his replacement since then and conveyed the same to the central leadership of the Congress.
Deol had secured release of Sumedh Saini
Deol, 61, had shot into limelight earlier this year when he secured the release of former director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini, arrested by the vigilance bureau in a 2020 criminal case. Deol had appeared for Saini, among other accused, in the 2015 sacrilege cases before the Punjab and Haryana high court.
This became the reason for the criticism of the government following his appointment. It was being reasoned that a person who defended Saini and those accused in sacrilege cases, should not have been appointed advocate general. Several Sikh organisations had also opposed his appointment.
Subsequently, Deol brought in a senior advocate and criminal lawyer Rajwinder Singh Bains as special public prosecutor to appear in post-sacrilege violence cases and also the cases in which Saini is an accused. However, this appointment was questioned due to Bains once representing a complainant in the 2015 sacrilege cases.
Last week, the government had to give an undertaking to the high court that Bains will not appear in post sacrilege violence cases till November 23.
On the drug cases, Deol tried hard that sealed cover reports in the high court be opened. However, due to the festive season, the matter was taken up on two-three occasions but no decision could be taken on them and the matter now stands deferred till November 18. The court is yet to decide on whether the reports are to be opened.
Sensitive cases in run-up to elections
All these cases are politically sensitive and important for the new government that has to face the assembly election within four months.
“The recent developments in the high court go against the promises being made by chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu. They have been promising that the sealed cover reports in drug cases will be opened at the earliest and that the probe will be expedited in the sacrilege cases,” a key functionary said, adding nothing substantial has been achieved in the courts.
One more reason being cited is of the high court not allowing the production warrants of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a sacrilege case. Deol had assured comprehensive security arrangements, including the deployment of a chopper, but the court did not agree to bring the dera chief from Rohtak’s Sunaria jail to Faridkot and added that if the police desired so, it could interrogate him in Rohtak jail.
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