On Tuesday, the Top Court reserved its order on an anticipatory bail plea of Ex-Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini seeking protection from arrest in a case related to alleged abduction & murder of a Junior Engineer Balwant Singh Multani in 1991.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the order after hearing all parties in the case & said it will pass a reasoned order in the case.
Senior Lawyer Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Saini argued that the Saini is a highly decorated officer.
Rohatgi said that “There are scores of death threats on this man. He took part in hundreds of operations & busted terror networks. When he was a DGP, he lodged five cases against current Chief Minister”.
Earlier, the Bench had asked the Govt of Punjab not to proceed in the case for the time being.
Saini was earlier granted three weeks interim protection from arrest in relation to the Balwant Singh Multani murder case by the top court. It had asked Saini to cooperate with the police & investigation in the matter.
Saini has challenged the Punjab & Haryana HC’s Sept 7 order which had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in the case.
On earlier hearing also Rohatgi had argued that Punjab Govt was after Saini because he had filed two charge sheets in which current CM Captain Amarinder Singh was named.
Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, who was the youngest DGP in the country, was booked along with 6 others in May this year at Mataur police station in Mohali for the alleged kidnapping of Multani, wrongful confinement, among other charges in 1991.
Later in Aug, murder charges were added to the FIR, after 2 co-accused turned approvers, & in their statement, alleged to be witnesses to the torture meted out to Balwant Singh Multani, under the custody of former DGP Saini, who was then the SSP of Chandigarh.
Multani worked with Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Corporation (Citco) & was picked up by the police after a terrorist attack on Saini, who was then Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police. Saini was injured in the attack & three policemen were killed.
“In 1991, Saini was posted as SSP in Chandigarh. On August 29, 1991, the blast took place. During the investigation, it was found that Devendar Singh Bhullar, who is on a life sentence and Balwant Singh Multani were involved in the case,” claimed in the plea.
Balwant Singh Multani’s father Darshan Singh Multani filed a plea before Punjab & Haryana HC saying that his son & Bhullar have been eliminated by Police officials.
“In 2008, CBI also registered a case against Saini that was later quashed by the Supreme Court,” plea has said.
It was alleged that when COVID-19 was at a peak, under “a politically motivated conspiracy an FIR was registered against Saini on same facts by the state government”.
The plea has said FIR was initially registered under Section 364 & Section 302 was added later.
It has said that “The FIR registered under kidnapping charges has now been converted into murder. The state machinery is haunting Saini. These are totally baseless allegations”.
Saini was part of then DGP KPS Gill’s team that helped eliminate terrorism in the state.
His bail plea earlier said that he has an outstanding service record.
The plea stated, “When the State of Punjab was going through a difficult period, he took an active part in counter-terrorism & anti-insurgency operations. The applicant is a decorated officer & was awarded the President’s Police Medal for gallantry & The Wound Medal (now referred to as Prakarm medal). He has been a target of anti-national & terrorist elements”.
It has said the applicant did not accept any reward money for the arrest/ elimination of terrorists & declined compensation when his parental house was burnt by terrorists.
The petition said that in 2015, as the state DGP, the applicant led the police operations at Dinanagar police station where 3 Pakistan Fidayeens were killed.
“The applicant is one of the prime targets of anti-national, secessionist & terrorist elements,” it has said.
The petition has also said that after abatement of terrorism in Punjab, the applicant has been involved in unearthing various scams & scandals.
It has said the applicant served as Head of the State Vigilance Bureau from 2007 to 2012 & during his tenure “a number of criminal cases were registered against members of the political party, which is now in power in the State of Punjab”.
It has also said that the applicant during his tenure as Inspector General of Police, Intelligence, Punjab was instrumental in unearthing “a major corruption network” related to then Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission.