Behbal Kalan Police Firing Case: Former DGP Fails to appear before SIT

Former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini had earlier obtained bail from the High Court against his arrest in any case. Due to legal protection, the SIT had to stop the interrogation of Saini. Due to this, Special Investigation Team (SIT) last questioned Saini on May 31 last year.

The case was sought to be transferred to a central agency. While disposing of the petitions, the High Court asked the Punjab Police to speed up the investigation into the 2015 Kotakpura and Behbal Kalan police firing cases.

What is the reason given by Sumedh Singh Saini?

Former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini on 8 July did not appear before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the October 2015 police firing case. The SIT had summoned them to join the investigation. Saini said he could not appear before the SIT due to a court case in New Delhi.

SIT Summoned Former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini

The Special Investigation Team summoned Saini days after the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the plea of Saini and other accused police officers. 

The SIT led by ADGP LK Yadav summoned Saini to appear before the Punjab Police Officers Institute at 10.30 am on 8 JULY.  But Saini has sent a letter asking for three weeks to appear before the SIT due to court dates in New Delhi. Source

Who is Sumedh Singh Saini?

Former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini is a 1982 batch IPS officer. Saini has been SSP of 6 districts including Batala, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Rupnagar and Chandigarh.

In August 1991, Saini was the SSP of Chandigarh when he was fatally attacked. Sumedh survived the attack but three security personnel were killed. The CBI case against Saini for abducting a businessman from Ludhiana along with two other persons and ransacking also lasted for a long time.

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In Chandigarh, he came under controversy for slapping an army lieutenant colonel and for arguing with an engineer in the deputy commissioner’s party while he was an SSP in Bathinda. Saini was also applauded for investigating several corruption cases, including the Ravi Sidhu case.

Why was Saini Removed as Punjab Police Chief in 2015?

Ramandeep Singh Sandhu, Saini’s lawyer, while confirming the arrest, said that in the case of FIR number 13, bail had already been granted by the court.

The court had asked Saini to appear before the vigilance for the investigation of this matter, so he came to the office of the vigilance bureau in Mohali at 8:10 A.M. However, the vigilance authorities registered another FIR of fraud and arrested him on the basis of it.

Also Read HC Decision on Ex DGP Punjab Sumedh saini In Corruption Case

The Vigilance Bureau has not officially confirmed Saini’s arrest, nor is any Vigilance official concerned. Saini is also facing many cases of human rights violations as a police officer in Punjab during the 1980s-90s. Sumedh Saini has also been nominated in the Behbal Kalan shooting case while protesting against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.

This incident is from 2015 and Sumedh Singh Saini was then posted as the Punjab Police Chief. The Special Investigation Team has questioned him in the blasphemy case and the matter is still in court.

New SIT members to investigate Behbal Kalan firing case

Punjab Bureau of Investigation adds three members to the SIT to probe the Behbal Kalan police firing incident – Ludhiana Range IG Naunihal Singh, Mohali SSP Satinder Singh, and Faridkot SSP Swarandeep Singh.

The Kotkapura, and Behbal Kalan firing incidents were earlier probed by former IG Kunwar Vijay. He had requested voluntary retirement which was accepted. After that ADGP LK Yadav was appointed to head SIT  by the state government.

What Supreme Court Said on stay of Sumedh Saini’s arrest?

The Supreme Court has expressed surprise at the High Court’s stay on the arrest of controversial former DGP Sumedh Saini. The Supreme Court was upset that in any new case registered, arrest can be stopped in advance. 

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The Supreme Court’s comment is like a shock for the former DGP and Saini’s problems may increase. It is worth mentioning that Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan stayed the arrest of Saini till April 20. 

Supreme Court Chief Justice N.V.A three-judge bench headed by Ramanna expressed surprise and said that apart from the old cases, this order to stay the arrest of Saini in advance in the new case registered against Saini does not seem reasonable. 

How can arrest be stopped in those cases which have not been registered yet? The Supreme Court, considering this case worthy of hearing, issued orders to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to either hear the case itself or hand over the matter to another judge. This matter has been asked not to be given to Justice Sangwan.

Two weeks’ time has been given for the disposal of the matter and the Supreme Court is keeping the special leave petition pending till the disposal of the case. Advocate General Dipinder Singh Patwalia and Sumedh Singh Saini, and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appeared in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Punjab Government.

“How can arrest be stopped in advance in a newly registered case?”

Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan had on March 3 extended the stay on Saini’s arrest till April 10. Earlier, on September 10, the High Court had issued an order to stay Saini’s arrest till the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.

Also read Sacrilege Case Has Used for Political Benefits By Politicians

Saini had described the cases registered against him as motivated by politics The apex court said that how can the arrest be stopped in advance in any new case registered. Former DGP Saini’s name was also registered by the Punjab Police in the shooting case related to the blasphemy case. The case of Balwant Singh Multani kidnapping and murder case is already in the Supreme Court.

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A new case was registered against Saini by the Vigilance Bureau Former DGP Saini is facing a special CBI court in Delhi in the 1994 kidnapping and disappearance case of businessmen Vinod Kumar, Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiar Singh.

Behbal Kalan Shooting Case Hearing

The Behbal Kalan shooting case was heard in the district court of Faridkot 8 July. During the hearing, except the former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, everyone were present including – IG Paramraj Singh Umranangal, former SSP Charanjit Singh Sharma, SP Bikramjit Singh, then SHO Amarjit Kular, businessman Pankaj Bansal and Suhail Singh.

Meanwhile, the defense counsel, citing the recent judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Behbal Kalan Golikand case, urged the court to call for a report on the Kotkapura Golikand related to Behbal Kalan Golikand as the High Court had directed that all cases Should be run simultaneously. 

In view of this, the report of the Kotkapura case should also be sought and the report of the entire case of Behbal Kalan should also be submitted. On the occasion, the government side said that the proceedings in the Kotkapura case were almost complete. Following this, the district court directed the government to submit a report in the Kotkapura case and adjourned the hearing till August 20. 

Defense counsel H.S. Saini said that the High Court has dismissed the FIR of the accused in the Behbal Kalan case. While disposing of the cancellation petitions, all were directed to present their case in the lower court. 

Meanwhile, instructions have also been given to hear the Behbal Kalan and Kotakpura shooting cases together. Following this, a report has also been sought on the Kotakpura case. Apart from this, former SHO in Behbal Kalan case. City Kotakpura Gurdeep Singh Pandher’s relief from the High Court has also ended, so a challan can be presented against him in the Behbal Kalan case.

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