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.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, asked Saini to surrender his passport, co-operate with the investigation and not to influence witnesses in the case.
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, the top court said.
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.
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 spill the beans.
The Punjab government had opposed Saini’s plea. Granting anticipatory bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the probe, Luthra had argued.
The Supreme Court had on September 15 granted interim protection from arrest to Saini and posted his plea for anticipatory bail for hearing after four weeks.
Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 7 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.
“This case is of 1991. After 30 years what is the hurry to arrest him… We will grant you time to file a reply,” the Bench had said, adding he will not be arrested till further orders.
However, the top court had asked Saini to co-operate with the Punjab Police in the investigation of the case.
Rohatgi had earlier contended that Punjab government was after Saini because he had filed two charge sheets in which current Chief Minister Capt Amarinder was an accused. “This is why they are after me,” he had submitted.
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.