Chandigarh, September 9: Dismissing the anticipatory bail application of former Punjab Police chief Sumedh Singh Saini on Tuesday, the Punjab and Haryana high court observed that if granted bail, there’s likelihood of him stifling a fair investigation and trial into the Balwant Singh Multani disappearance case of 1991.
Saini, whose whereabouts are not known, had approached the high court on September 4 after a Mohali court had dismissed his plea. The detailed judgment was released on Wednesday.
“The investigating agency has woken up and gathered courage to investigate its own officer and therefore, the vital pieces of evidence that would come handy in leading to leads would inch towards unravelling this puzzle which too has baffled the citizenry who are looking upon the justice system as a last resort to get justice,” the bench of justice Fatehdeep Singh said, observing why Saini’s custodial interrogation is warranted, Hindustan Times reported.
Saini had claimed political victimisation and also that he was granted bail when the offence under kidnapping was registered in May. Hence, it should continue.
On the other hand, the prosecution said that fresh evidence had come to the fore and Saini had violated the condition set out in the bail that he won’t leave his Chandigarh house without intimation, but he is at large, leaving behind his security cover.
The bench observed since the day of his disappearance, the Multani family has been making every effort to initiate the judicial process, which remained in oblivion to the constitutional rights of the family. “These things certainly are of much relevance and also substantiate the state’s allegations that he enjoyed unbridled powers,” it added, observing that there are many cases, which for political reasons or otherwise, remain buried for long and are unearthed with the passage of time. “…therefore, (it) does not discourage the investigating agency from laying off its hands from such grave crimes against humanity,” the bench said.
The court took note of the state’s accusations that Saini had been a “blue-eyed boy with political patronage” and was “law unto himself”. It also took note of allegations against Saini in the abduction case of Vinod Kumar, a businessman, in 1994, for which trial is underway in a Delhi court. In that case, he is accused of ‘intimidating’ judges, and the investigating officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who turned hostile.
The bench observed that much evidence has come out in public due to the bail plea proceedings and there’s a need to “preserve the same from the prying eyes of Saini”. It added that in crimes such as those reported in the “dark days”, it would be committed with utmost secrecy and coming across witnesses would be a Herculean task.
The court also did not accept the argument that the Supreme Court had already quashed a 2008 first information report in this case, observing that the family was given liberty to approach the authorities afresh.