Giving interim relief to the former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday ordered that he should be give a week’s advance notice before effecting his arrest in any case pertaining to any incident during entire service period, except the in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani kidnapping and murder case.
The Supreme Court has already given him interim protection from arrest in the case. The relief from the Punjab and Haryana High Court came on a day when the former state police chief failed to appear before a special investigation team probing the disappearance of junior engineer Balwant Singh Multani.
Saini was to join the investigation at 11 am at Matour police station following which strict security arrangements were put in place outside the police station.
The SIT kept waiting for Saini for around two hours and when he did not turn up the SIT members left the police station. They also refused to speak to the media.
“We wanted to question him, we had our questions ready but he (Saini) did not join the investigation,” a senior officer said.
But his lawyer Vinod Ghai said Saini feared he could be arrested by the Punjab Police in some other case when he appeared before the SIT to join the investigation into Multani’s disappearance. Wednesday’s high court order by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi protects the former director general of police from this possibility. The case has now been fixed for October 8.
On Wednesday, Saini had moved the HC for extending the protection granted by the court on October 11, 2018, to any incident pertaining to his entire service career.
The HC today after hearing the plea of Saini, issued notice to the Punjab Police, and adjourned the matter for October 8, 2020.
The bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, meanwhile, directed: “Till then the protection of order dated 11.10.2018 passed by this court is extended to any incident pertaining to the entire service career of the applicant/petitioner except the incident subject matter of case FIR No.77 dated 06.05.2020 registered under Sections 364, 201, 344, 330, 219, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 at Police Station City Mataur, District S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) to which Section 302 of the IPC was added later on regarding which SLP No.4336 of 2020 titled Sumedh Singh Saini Vs. State of Punjab is pending before Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
“In case the applicant/petitioner is sought to be arrested in any case pertaining to any incident during entire service of the petitioner, other than the incident subject matter of abovesaid FIR No.77 dated 06.05.2020, then one week’s advance notice shall be given to the petitioner before effecting his arrest so as to enable him to have recourse to remedies available to him in accordance with law”, ruled the HC in the order.
The Supreme Court had on September 15 granted interim protection from arrest to Saini in the Multani case. The apex court had said that Saini was not to be arrested till further orders and he should cooperate in the investigation.
Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, was the youngest DGP in the country when he was appointed the state police chief in 2012. He was removed from the post in 2015 after protests erupted following sacrilege incidents in the state. Saini retired in 2018. The police last month added murder charge under section 302 of the IPC in the FIR after two former Chandigarh police personnel — former UT police Inspector Jagir Singh and former ASI Kuldeep Singh, who are also co-accused — turned approvers. Multani, a resident of Mohali, was picked up by the police after a terrorist attack on Saini in 1991. However, the police later claimed that Multani, the son of a former IAS officer, had escaped from Qadian police’s custody in Gurdaspur. Saini and six others were booked on the complaint of Multani’s brother, Palwinder Singh Multani, who is a resident of Jalandhar.
WITH INPUTS FROM PTI
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