New Delhi [India], December 3 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini in a case related to the alleged abduction and murder of Junior Engineer Balwant Singh Multani in 1991.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked Saini to surrender his passport and cooperate with the investigation.
Setting aside the orders of a trial court and High Court, the apex court said Saini shall be released on a personal bond of Rs one lakh. The bench also asked Saini to stay away from witnesses in the alleged murder case.
Saini had approached the top court seeking protection from arrest in the case challenging a September 7 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea in the case.
During the hearings, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Saini had argued that the Saini is a highly decorated officer. "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 the current (Punjab) Chief Minister," Rohatgi had said.
Earlier, the bench had asked the Punjab government not to proceed in the case for the time being. Rohatgi had argued that the Punjab government was after Saini because he had filed two chargesheets, in which Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was named.
Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, who was the youngest DGP in the country, was booked along with six 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 August, murder charges were added to the FIR, after two co-accused turned approvers, and in their statement, claimed 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 and Tourism Corporation (Citco) and 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 and three policemen were killed.
Saini had retired in 2018 after 36 years of service and, in his petition, has also sought quashing of FIR. The plea before the top court has alleged that the case against the former DGP was an example of "politically motivated conspiracy" by the present Punjab government.
It was claimed that Multani "fled from the police custody on December 19, 1991".
"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," the plea had said.
Multani's father Darshan Singh Multani had filed a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court stating that his son and Bhullar have been eliminated by police officials.
"In 2008, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also registered a case against Saini that was later quashed by the Supreme Court," plea has said.
Saini, in his plea, 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 FIR registered under kidnapping charges has now been converted into murder. The state machinery is haunting Saini. These are totally baseless allegations," it has said. (ANI)