New Delhi: The Supreme Court has granted protection from arrest to former Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Saini in the 1991 case of kidnapping and murder of a junior engineer Balwant Singh Multani. The protection will run till further notice.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, while hearing the anticipatory bail plea filed by Saini, told the prosecution (the State of Punjab): “We will give you time to file reply,” while providing protection to Saini.
The bench, however, asked Saini to co-operate with the police in the investigation of the case.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, arguing for Saini, said: “This is a very serious matter. He is a decorated officer and he had suffered bullet injuries. Multani is a proclaimed offender in a case.” He said Saini was targeted by terrorists when he was an SSP. He said Saini was an outstanding and dedicated and hardworking officer. Rohatgi added that the FIR was registered against Saini in a mala-fide manner, now he is a retired person.
Justice Bhushan asked: “This case is from 1991. After 30 years what is the hurry to arrest him?”
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, for the State of Punjab, said: “Post registration of the FIR, the statement of the approver has been recorded. Witnesses in the police station have for the first time stated that the picture of Multani released to have escaped from the prison was not Multani at all.
Justice Bhushan said: “We will grant you time to file a reply.”
Saini has challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s September 7 order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea in the Multani kidnapping and murder case.
Punjab Police have also filed a caveat to pre-empt Saini from getting any ex-parte relief from the top court.
As the case records say, Multani, a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation was allegedly picked up by the police in December 1991 after a terror attack on Saini that killed three policemen and injured Saini.
In May a police station in Mohali booked Saini and six others foe the alleged kidnapping. In August a murder charge was added after two of the policemen arrested turned approver and alleged that Saini was a culprit.
This is not the only case in which Saini is accused. He is on trial in a Special CBI Court in Delhi (plus three others) for allegedly abducting automobile businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh. It has been alleged that the police picked up Vinod and Mukhtiyar from the parking lot of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 15, 1994, Ashok was allegedly abducted from Ludhiana the same day.
-India Legal Bureau