Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 3
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani murder case, “considering the fact that the impugned FIR has been lodged by the brother of the deceased after a period of almost 29 years from the date of incident.”
“We are of the opinion that the appellant (Saini) has made out a case for anticipatory bail,” said a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan which had on September 15 granted him interim protection from arrest.
It also took note of the fact that the offence of murder under Section 302 IPC was added subsequently to the case on the basis of the statements of Jagir Singh and Kuldip Singh who turned approvers in the case.
The top court, however, asked Saini to surrender his passport, co-operate with the investigation. If arrested, the former Punjab DGP would be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties in the like amount, it said.
Multani—a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation—was allegedly picked up by the police in December 1991 after a terror attack on Saini that left three policemen killed. Saini was injured in the attack.
Saini’s troubles started in May when he was booked at a police station in Mohali along with six others for the alleged kidnapping of Multani in 1991. Murder charge was added in August after two of the accused policemen spilled the beans.
The Bench had reserved its verdict on November 17 after hearing arguments from senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Saini and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Punjab Government.
Even during the hearing the Bench had questioned the need for custody of the accused after 30 years of the crime observed that it was prima facie inclined to grant anticipatory bail.
The Punjab government had opposed Saini’s plea. Granting anticipatory bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the probe, Luthra had argued.
Saini had moved the top court after the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 7 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.
Saini had alleged that the Punjab government was after him because he had filed two chargesheets in which Chief Minister Capt Amarinder was an accused.
In a separate petition, Saini has also challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing of the FIR in the case.
He is also facing trial in a Special CBI Court in Delhi along with three others for alleged abduction and disappearance of automobile businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh in 1994.