Former Punjab Top Cop Sumedh Singh Saini Released a Day After Arrest
Former DGP Saini had been arrested by the Punjab's Vigilance Bureau in a disproportionate assets case on 18 August.
A day after his arrest, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday, 19 August, ordered the immediate release of Punjab's former Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini from vigilance custody, The Indian Express reported. The court had previously ruled that a prior notice should be served to Saini if he is to be arrested – an order that had allegedly been violated in the arrest on Wednesday.
Saini, on Wednesday, had been arrested by the Punjab's Vigilance Bureau in a disproportionate assets case on the charges of cheating, forgery, and other provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
He was taken into custody after being questioned in the land fraud case pertaining to the certification of agricultural land as part of a residential colony, IE reported.
Ahead of his arrest, the former DGP had submitted a plea seeking extension of the seven-day notice or blanket bail for him in all cases. Saini's counsel, comprising of senior lawyers Himmat Singh Deol, Vinod Ghai, Kirti Ahuja, and Jasdev Singh Mehndiratta, had argued on Thursday that the Punjab government was in infringement of the previous orders of the high court.
The high court, in 2018, had ruled that Saini would be served a notice seven days in advance if any action was to be taken against him. In 2020, the court had marked the exception of the 1991 Multani murder case from the protection order.
Further, Saini, on Wednesday, filed a plea in the high court claiming that he was being falsely implicated in criminal matters by the Punjab's ruling party due to ulterior motives.
Saini is a 1982-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Punjab cadre who had expanded his power in the state with the aid of the former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Over the years, Saini's name has been mired in several controversies relating to allegations of police atrocities and impunity.
Ensaaf, a non-profit organisation focusing on police impunity in Punjab, had indicated that over 150 enforced disappearances or killings took place in areas under Saini’s command. Their study alleges that the former DGP was personally involved in at least 24 such cases.
The former top cop is also facing trial for the abduction and murder of Balwant Singh Multani in 1991. Multani was a junior engineer with the government in Chandigarh and the son of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Darshan Singh Multani.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)
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