NEW DELHI—The leniency shown by Punjab Police to arrest infamous Punjab former DGP Sumedh Saini finally worked in his favour as he secured a stay on his arrest from the Supreme Court (SC) of India today in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani disappearance and murder case.
Saini had filed a petition in the SC challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s September 7 order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea in the case.
Granting interim protection from arrest to Saini, the apex court cited that there is no need to arrest him hurriedly as the case is around 30 years old. “After 30 years what is the hurry to arrest him… We will grant you time to file a reply,” a three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said
The bench also adds that he would not be arrested till further orders, but asks him to cooperate with Punjab Police in the probe. It also demanded a response from the Punjab government on Saini’s petition in three weeks. Saini has been given one week thereafter to file his rejoinder. In view of this, further hearing in the case would occur at least after four weeks.
Till this decision was pronounced by the SC, the infamous Police officer who was appointed as Punjab DGP by Parkask Badal-led SAD-BJP government, was absconding in the case. Mohali court had issued an arrest warrant against him in this case. The court has directed the police to produce Saini by September 25, according to the order.
Saini is turning out to be a focus in Punjab politics nowadays and all eyes were on his arrest. Saini continued to remain elusive despite the special investigation team of the Punjab Police conducting raids at several places to nab him.
A junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation, Balwant Singh Multani was picked up by the police in December 1991 after a militant attack on Saini. Three policemen were killed in the attack, while Saini who played a major role in mass extrajudicial killings, was injured.
The way was paved for bringing Saini to justice in May this year when FIR was registered against him and six others in Mohali for the alleged kidnapping and murdering of Multani in 1991. The murder charge under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was added in August after two of the accused policemen spilled the beans.