September 15, 2020 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India (SCI) today stayed arrest of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini in Balwant Singh Multani murder case. The case was heard by a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah.
The court granted interim relief to Sumedh Saini and stayed his arrest, pending the final hearing of Sumedh Saini’s plea for anticipatory bail.
During today’s proceedings, Justice Ashok Bhushan reportedly asked that why there was hurry to arrest Sumedh Saini?
It is notable that the Indian system took 29 years to register a case against Sumedh Saini, who was an SSP rank officer in 1991 when Balwant Singh Multani was murdered in custody by Sumedh Saini and his associates, who were also cops. Sumedh Saini was promoted to the top rank of DGP before he retired from police service.
It is pertinent to mention here that Sumedh Saini is already facing a triple murder case in a CBI court for eliminating two members and a driver of a business family from Ludhiana which owns Saini Motors.
Copy of SCI order was awaited at the time of writing this news.
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:
“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:
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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