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Delhi CBI court revokes exemption of Sumedh Saini; Summons issued against Punjab DGP in triple murder trial

November 21, 2013 | By

New Delhi, India (November 21, 2013): It is learnt that a Special CBI court at Tis Hazari, Delhi cancelled the exemption granted to Punjab director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Saini from personal appearance, on Wednesday (Nov 20) and issued an order directing DGP Saini to remain present on November 28, 2013 in an abduction and elimination case of three members of a Ludhiana-based business family in 1994.

Sumedh Saini – DGP Punjab

It may be recalled that Sumedh Saini is an accused along with three other police officers in a case filed by the CBI before the Delhi CBI court in an FIR registered on April 18, 1994, at Delhi on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court, but he does not only remains on service rather he has been promoted to the top post of Punjab police by the Badal government.

According to information Additional District and Sessions judge AK Mehandiratta passed the orders on November 20 against Sumedh Saini during the resumed hearing of the case when petitioner Ashish Kumar, brother of Vinod Kumar, one of the deceased, informed the court that Saini was pressing and intimidating him and other witnesses in the case.

While passing the orders, the court also directed the Delhi police commissioner to ensure adequate security to Sumedh Saini during his visit to the Tis Hazari court from November 28 onwards.

Petitioner seek expeditious trial in 19 years old case:

According to certain media reports the petitioner Ashish Kumar had filed an application for expeditious trial, preferably on day-today basis, in a 20-year-old case involving 95- year- old Amar Kaur, Ashish’s mother, in view of the alleged attempts being made to press and intimidate the witnesses by the Punjab DGP in the FIR.

“That the accused persons (police officers, including Saini) are delaying the trial of the present case by taking one coercive method or the other and till date the defence (accused police officers) has already taken more than 27 dates only for accused No 1 (Sumedh Singh Saini)…”, Ashish Kumar reportedly mentioned in his application.

According to the Hindustan Times (HT): “Ashish had made a prayer that the case may be ‘fixed for day-to-day hearing and appropriate direction may be issued to the accused No 1 namely Sumedh Singh Saini to appear in the present case personally on every hearing of the case, so that cross-examination of the PW 3 (Ashish Kumar) may conclude as early as possible…’.”

Sumedh Saini faces charges of killing three in illegal custody:

According to a news reported by YesPunjab, an online news portal by senior Punjab journalist HS Bawa, the Ludhiana-based businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh had been taken into custody on March 15, 1994, at a police station in Ludhiana after which they went missing. The CBI had claimed that Saini (then Ludhiana SSP) nursed a grudge against Vinod and booked him in a case of economic offences.

The case against Saini Saini and three other police officers, namely Sukhmohinder Singh (then Ludhiana SP), inspector Paramjit Singh (then SHO, Ludhiana) and inspector Balbir Chand Tiwari (then SHO police station Kotwali), was registered by the CBI on the Punjab and Haryana high court directions.

Later, the Supreme Court had transferred the case trial in 2004 from the Ambala court to Delhi on the plea of Vinod’s mother Amar Kaur who had alleged that the powerful accused might influence the trial. The CBI in 2006 had chargesheeted Saini and the other accused under sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC. The CBI court had later framed charges against them.

Some other cases against Sumedh Saini that lay buried:

According to various Human Rights bodies the present DGP of Punjab was involved in mass level abuse of Human rights in Punjab in late-1980s to mid-1990s. This was a period when unlawful custody, custodial torture, enforced disappearances, fake encounters and extra-judicial killings were common policing practices in Punjab.

Jatana Family Elimination Case:

Dead Silence: Legacy of Human Rights abuses in Punjab”, a report by Human Rights Watch (formerly Asia Watch) notes (at Page. 17-18):

In another case, one senior officer’s use of police to carry out acts of reprisal caused controversy with the police force itself. After SSP Sumedh Singh Saini narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on August 29, 1991,[…] that same day police from Saini’s station came to the home village of the militant leader of the Babbar Khalsa group and took down the names of five of his relatives who lived in one house. Later that night, gunmen surrounded the house and opened fire, killing three women and a five-year-old child, and then set fire to the house. The next morning, a plainclothes policeman advised the relatives to search for five bodies. The cremation was ordered to be carried out in the presence of the police. Although police officials claimed that the incident was the result of inter-gang rivalry, no group claimed responsibility. On October 17, 1991, Dinesh Kumar reported in the Times of India that the SSP of Ropar, Mohammad Mustafa, had

accused the SSP of Chandigrah, Mr. Sumedh Saini, of ordering the execution of four of [the] family members of top Babbar Khalsa [group] militant Balwinder Singh of Jatana, in retaliation for an unsuccessful attempt by militants to assassinate him. The accusation has been levelled in a confidential letter sent to the Punjab police chief, Mr. D.S. Mangat, in the first week of September…. .Highly-placed sources in the Punjab government said Mr. Mustafa accused Mr. Saini of despatching three jeep-loads of plain-clothes Chandigarh policemen to Balwinder’s native village, Jatana in Ropar district, on the night of 29 August 1991…[T]he Ropar police has officially recorded the crime as committed by “some unidentified persons believed to be militants” to avoid controversy.(Dinesh Kumar, “Police Accused of Killing Militant’s Kin,” Times of India (Bombay), October 17, 1991.)

Sumedh Saini was able to evade any inquiry or investigation in this case.

Prof. Bhullar’s relatives’ elimination case:

According to various human rights bodies in December 1991 Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar’s father, uncle and friend were abducted by the police under the orders of then Chandigarh SSP Sumedh Saini.

In July 2008, on the orders of Punjab & Haryana High Court, CBI has filed a criminal case against Sumedh Saini for “abduction with intent to kill” Professor Bhullar’s father and uncle.

The CBI after conducting thorough investigations concluded that there was bundle of evidence showing Sumdh Saini’s involvement in the elimination of trio. An FIR was registered against Sumedh Saini in this case by the CBI under the orders of the High Court.

But the Punjab Government went in appeal to the Supreme Court against the High court orders clearing prosecution of Sumedh Saini in this case.

The Supreme Court of India (SCI) on December 07, 2011 quashed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order directing the CBI to investigate the enforced disappearance of the three innocent Sikhs.

A division bench of Justices B. S. Chauhan and A. K. Patnaik termed the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s single judge bench’s order as “erroneous”. The Supreme Court of India suffered a deliberate failure to take suo-moto notice of the findings of the CBI inquiry or order a fresh inquiry itself.

All this has resulted in blind impunity to the culprits of mass level human rights abuses and denial of justice to the victims.

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