SC stays CBI probe against Sumedh Saini in fake encounter case

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court today stayed till further orders the CBI investigation ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court against Punjab Vigilance Bureau Director Sumedh Singh Saini and other police officials for their alleged involvement in the fake encounter of alleged militant Balwant Singh Multani in December 1991.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal also issued notices to the Punjab government and the CBI on the petition filed by Mr Saini, who was the SSP, Chandigarh, at the time of the alleged incident in 1991.

According to the Punjab Police, Multani, son of a retired IAS officer, Darshan Singh Multani, had escaped from police custody on December 19, 1991.

Multani, an accomplice of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who was involved in a murderous attack on the then All India Youth Congress president M S Bitta, was declared a proclaimed offender by the court.

Other police officials against whom the CBI had registered an FIR were Baldev Singh Saini, the then DSP, Chandigarh, Harshay Sharma and Jagir Singh, the then Sub-Inspectors posted at the Police Station Central, Chandigarh.

According to the petitioner, the orders of Justice M S Gill, dated July 2, 2008, cast aspersions on the entire Punjab Police Force, as a learned single judge of the High Court had in his order observed that the State of Punjab would not conduct free and fair investigation in the case.

The petitioner also said the impugned order was passed in suo motu proceedings, initiated by the High Court, without even issuing notice to the State of Punjab.

He also alleged in his petition in the apex court that the Punjab Police had the material in its possession to show why Justice Gill should not have taken up the matter for hearing.

Senior Counsel Harish Salve mentioned the matter today before the apex court on behalf of the petitioner, informing the court that the CBI had registered a case under Sections 120 B, 364, 343, 330, 167 and 193, IPC, on the erroneous order passed by the High Court without hearing the State of Punjab, who was a necessary party in the case.

The Punjab Police had informed the High Court in an earlier petition that the whereabouts of Multani were not known to the police. Others, whose whereabouts were not known, were Manjeet Singh and Manmohanjeet Singh.

Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death for the terrorist attack on Bitta, in which several people were killed.

In another attack on August 29, 1991, Saini himself was seriously injured, three security personel were killed, limbs of three people were amputated and one CRPF personnel suffered from paralysis due to serious head injures. Twenty kg RDX had been allegedly planted in a car parked on the roadside.


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