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Friday, September 17, 2021

24 hrs after he was arrested, HC orders immediate release of ex-DGP Saini

Hours before he was arrested, Saini had moved the high court seeking directions for extension of protection of seven day notice/ blanket bail to him in all cases while submitting that Punjab government has flouted the orders already passed by the HC.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh, Mohali |
August 20, 2021 6:05:01 am
The Vigilance Bureau on Wednesday had arrested Saini in a case registered in Mohali on September 17, 2020 on charges of cheating, forgery and other offences (File)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court late on Thursday ordered immediate release of Punjab’s former DGP Punjab Sumedh Singh Saini, just over 24 hours after he was arrested by the state Vigilance Bureau in a corruption case.

The detailed order was awaited till the time of this report going to print.

Hours before he was arrested, Saini had moved the high court seeking directions for extension of protection of seven day notice/ blanket bail to him in all cases while submitting that Punjab government has flouted the orders already passed by the HC.

On Thursday, the arguments in the two cases — the application filed by Saini for extension of protection to him in all cases and a habeas corpus plea filed for his release — continued throughout the day in the court of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi.

Saini’s lawyers — senior advocates Vinod Ghai and APS Deol, along with advocates Kanika Ahuja , Himmat Singh Deol, Jasdev Singh Mehndiratta, and Kirti Ahuja — contended that the retired DGP was arrested by the vigilance bureau in violation of three earlier orders of the high court — dated

October 11, 2018, September 23, 2020 and an anticipatory bail granted to Saini on August 12 this year.
Earlier, the high court had in its October 11, 2018 order had directed that Saini will be served a seven day advance notice if any action was being contemplated against him. On September 23, 2020, the HC had extended the protection of order dated October 11, 2018, to any incident pertaining to Saini’s entire service career. The bench had also made it clear that the only exception would be the Multani murder case registered by the Punjab Police on May 6, 2020.

In the application filed before the HC, Saini through his lawyers, expressed apprehension of false implication in criminal cases on account of malice, malafides and ulterior motives attributed to the political party in power in Punjab. His lawyers contended that despite HC order that he be served a week’s advance notice before effecting arrest, the officials were making attempts to arrest him by implicating him in false cases.

The Vigilance Bureau on Wednesday had arrested Saini in a case registered in Mohali on September 17, 2020 on charges of cheating, forgery and other offences under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120- B of the IPC and the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

On Thursday, Vigilance Bureau produced Saini before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Pamelpreet Grewal Kahal. The Vigilance Bureau was seeking his police custody. Till midnight, Saini remained at the Mohali court awaiting a copy of the release order from the high court.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance Bureau also arrested two more persons in the case. They include Davinder Singh Sandhu, senior director of World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS), and Shakti Sagar, a government employee. While Sandhu was arrested from Mohali, Sagar was picked up from Amritsar.
Saini, who retired in June 2018, was arrested when he reached Vigilance Bureau office in Mohali to join the investigation in a disproportionate assets case registered against him but reportedly refused to get out from his vehicle.

A 1982-batch IPS officer, Saini was appointed the Punjab police chief in 2012, but was removed from the post in 2015 after protests erupted over a series of sacrilege incidents. He retired in 2018.
In May 2020, Saini was also booked in the case of disappearance of Balwant Singh Multani in 1991. Multani was then a junior engineer with the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation. The police later added murder charge under Section 302 of the IPC in the FIR in the disappearance case after two former Chandigarh Police personnel who were co-accused turned approver.

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