The Supreme Court on Tuesday (17th November 2020) reserved orders in the plea by former Director General of Police (DGP) of Punjab, Sumedh Singh Saini seeking anticipatory bail in relation to the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani Murder case.
Mukul Rohatgi, Senior Advocate appearing for Saini told the court that the case was registered against Saini because he was investigating cases against the then chief minister of the State. “there is no material except self-serving statements by accused who are similarly placed and even they were granted anticipatory bail”, said Rohatgi. Rohatgi further argued that the Punjab government had no jurisdiction in the instant case, as the alleged torture occurred in Chandigarh.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy & MR Shah heard the plea and said that three decades had passed and mulled over whether this was a case where custody was required at all. The Court also raised questions as to how Section 302 of the IPC was added against the accused and under what law the State approached the magistrate to do so. Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the State of Punjab, contended that anticipatory bail at this stage would hamper the probe against Saini and requested the court to allow him to place the investigation details in a sealed cover. Supreme Court, on 15th September, had granted interim protection from arrest to former DGP in Punjab Sumedh Saini, who is an accused in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani kidnapping and murder case. The Court has issued a notice in the anticipatory bail plea filed by him. The case had been registered against Saini under Section 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 201 (causing the disappearance of evidence of offense), 344 (wrongful confinement), 330 (voluntary causing hurt), 219, and 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code at Mataur Police station in Mohali. It has been alleged that Balwant Singh Multani was killed in state-managed elimination around the month of December in 1991. It was alleged that Sumedh Singh, during his tenure as SSP, Chandigarh on the early morning of 11.12.1991 swooped upon the residence of the deceased and took him away forcibly and illegally without assigning any reason. According to the police excesses, an FIR No. 440 of 1991under section 212, 216 IPC; Section 25 of the Arms Act and Section 3 and 5 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 was registered against him. As alleged, it was during the police torture; Balwant Singh Multani succumbed to the ghastly third-degree treatment to the police. Later on, in a pre-planned manner, the deceased was shown to have been declared as a proclaimed offender.