Former Punjab Police chief Sumedh Singh Saini faces arrest after high court dismisses bail petition
Former Punjab Police chief Sumedh Singh Saini faces arrest with the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday dismissing his anticipatory bail petition in the Balwant Singh Multani disappearance case of 1991.
The bench of justice Fatehdeep Singh also dismissed his second petition that sought the quashing of a first information report (FIR) in the case or the transfer of investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“Both petitions of the former DGP have been dismissed by the high court,” Punjab Police special public prosecutor Sartej Singh Narula said.
Saini can appeal against the judgment before the Supreme Court.
The bench had heard the case for nearly four hours on Monday.
TWO JUDGES HAD RECUSED FROM HEARING CASE
Earlier, two judges had recused from hearing this case. Justice Suvir Sehgal recused from hearing the bail plea on Friday, while on September 2 justice Amol Rattan Singh recused from hearing the petition seeking the quashing of the FIR that was pending in the high court since August 19.
On September 1, a Mohali court had dismissed Saini’s anticipatory bail plea.
EX-DGP’S WHEREABOUTS NOT KNOWN
The former DGP, whose whereabouts are not known at present, was booked in May for the alleged kidnapping of Multani, a junior engineer with the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation (Citco) in 1991 and the son of a bureaucrat. Multani had been picked up by the police after a terrorist attack on Saini, the then Chandigarh senior superintendent of police.
Initially, the case against him was registered for offences of causing disappearance and abduction at Mataur police station in Mohali. Section 302 for murder was added in August after two policemen, initially named as accused, turned approver.
SAINI ALLEGES CONGRESS HAND
In his plea, Saini had argued that the FIR was the result of a mala fide act for launching probes against Congress leaders and their relatives to unearth scams. He had also argued that he was granted bail in the case when it was registered for kidnapping, hence, he should be granted anticipatory bail on addition of the murder charge, too. For the same incident, the CBI had registered an FIR in 2008, but the Supreme Court had set it aside. Hence, the second FIR in the same offence is not maintainable, he had argued.
FRESH EVIDENCE AGAINST EX-DGP: POLICE
Punjab Police cited fresh evidence of Saini’s involvement in the case and denied any political victimisation. When the accused was granted bail in the kidnapping case, investigation was at its initial stage and there was hardly any evidence collected by the special investigation team (SIT), police said. Now, there is sufficient evidence on record to prove Saini’s indictment, the police told the court.
The police had argued that custodial interrogation was required to find out about involvement of other officials in the illegal abduction, detention, torture, and disposal of the body of Multani.
The government had roped in two Supreme Court senior advocates Sidharth Luthra and Harin Rawal to argue its case before the high court.