The Supreme Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini in the Balwant Singh Multani disappearance case of 1991.
A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said Mr. Saini should commit a bail bond of ₹1 lakh along with two sureties and also surrender his passport.
The court in September gave him protection from arrest in the case. It had earlier questioned the Punjab government on its “hurry” to arrest Mr. Saini in a case dating back to 1991.
In 1991, Multani was picked up after an attack on Mr. Saini and three police officers. The three died and Mr. Saini was grievously injured. The police later claimed that Multani had escaped custody and disappeared. However, a murder charge was recently added to the case after two of the accused policemen in the case turned approvers. An FIR was registered on the basis of a compliant by Multani’s family.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier refused his plea for anticipatory bail.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Mr. Saini, contended that his client was a decorated officer and suffered bullet injuries. He argued that the case was politically motivated.
Mr. Rohatgi said it had been 29 years since Multani escaped custody. He said Mr. Saini was an SSP at the time of the attack. Multani, on the other hand, was a proclaimed offender.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, for the Punjab government, objected to the plea for bail. He said Mr. Saini was still an influential person with power to intimidate witnesses.
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