Top Court's Relief For Ex-Punjab Police Chief In 1991 Murder Case (03-12-2020)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab police chief Sumedh Singh Saini in a 1991 case related to the disappearance of a junior engineer of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said Mr Saini must cooperate with the probe and surrender his passport to authorities.

It set aside a trial court and High Court order, and said if he is arrested, he must be released on a personal bond of ? 1 lakh. The bench also asked him to stay away from witnesses in the alleged murder case.

Mr Saini had approached the top court, challenging a September 7 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, dismissing his anticipatory bail plea in the case.

A 1982-batch IPS officer, Mr Saini was part of then DGP KPS Gill's team that helped eliminate terrorism in the state in the 1980s and 1990s. His bail petition in this case said he has an outstanding service record.

A case was filed by the Mohali police in May against the former Director General Police in connection with the disappearance of the junior engineer Balwant Singh Multani in 1991.

Mr Multani was picked up by the police following an August 29, 1991, terrorist attack on Mr Saini, then the Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police. The attack killed three policemen, besides injuring Mr Saini himself.

Investigations found that Devendar Singh Bhullar, who is now on life sentence, and Mr Multani were involved in the case, according to an ANI report.

Later it was claimed that Mr Multani had "fled from police custody on December 19, 1991".

The Supreme Court had earlier, too, granted the veteran officer interim protection from arrest in this matter.

In August, the police reportedly added a murder charge in the case after two former Chandigarh police officers turned approvers.

Mr Saini retired in 2018 after 36 years of service and had sought the quashing of the case against him.

"There are scores of death threats on this man. He took part in hundreds of operations and busted terror networks. When he was a DGP, he lodged five cases against current Chief Minister," Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi had told the court earlier, appearing for Mr Saini.

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03 Dec 2020