‘Why no SLP filed?’: Sidhu questions Punjab govt over blanket bail to ex-DGP Saini
Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday questioned the state government for not filing a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court seeking quashing of blanket bail granted to former state police chief Sumedh Singh Saini by the Punjab and Haryana High court. Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, the cricketer-turned politician also remarked that not filing the SLP was a ‘delaying tactic’ by the ruling dispensation.
“The courts cannot be blamed for the delay as they act only upon the investigation report put up by the police,” Sidhu said, as he continued his attack on party colleague and new chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, with whom he has engaged in a war of words in recent days over investigations into the 2015 sacrilege cases.
The Punjab and Haryana high court, on September 10, granted blanket bail to former Punjab Police DGP Saini, in connection with various criminal cases registered against him. As per the court's directions, the former police officer cannot be arrested till February 2022, when the northern state is likely to go to polls.
Saini was the head of the police force when incidents of sacrilege were reported from across Punjab, in October 2015. With protesters taking to the streets, the police opened fire in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan, resulting in the deaths of two agitators. However, the high court's order will also stall probe against Saini in sacrilege violence cases, among others, giving him more relief.
Sidhu had repeatedly targeted former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, whose resignation in September paved the way for Channi's elevation, over investigations into the sacrilege episode; Singh resigned from the Congress on November 2, and announced his own political outfit. Sidhu, meanwhile, has shifted his attention towards new advocate general of Punjab, APS Deol, and new DGP, Iqbal Singh Sahota, over their respective roles in the probe. Deol, in fact, represented Saini in the high court, which eventually granted the latter protection from arrest.