Sumedh Singh Saini, former DGP of Punjab, who is on the run, was a blue-eyed bureaucrat of the previous ruling political dispensation, and he was elevated to the top rank of Director General Police by conveniently superseding the four senior officers. The officer was having a ‘Z’ plus security that itself ridicules the law as to how he is evading the arrest.
The prayer for grant of anticipatory bail under section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, was declined by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 8th September 2020. The Session Court has taken the cognizance for the alleged crime of murder of Balwant Singh Multani, a Junior engineer, who was the son of a serving IAS officer of that time.
The basis for the non-grant of anticipatory bail in the wiser perception of the High Court was that Saini could stifle the trial as he was a law unto himself and who could end up intimidating the ongoing trial. The Session Court of Mohali also directed the police to execute the non-bailable warrant latest by 25th September 2020.
The accused has invoked the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India by preferring a Special Leave Petition against the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court dated 8th September 2020.
It is a regular phenomenon that whenever any process of arrest is issued against the top echelon of the ruling dispensation, the process remains unexecuted for a considerable time courtesy the administrative support. It defies the common sense as to how a person who was under the ‘Z’ plus security can hide his presence to evade the process of law.
It is being said that the six different Police teams led by Deputy Superintendents of Police are tracing him. The record reveals that they have also raided other places to arrest but to no avail.
Still, for reasons other than legal and legitimate, the arrest is not being done to enable him to try his luck before the pending petition in the Supreme Court. The so-called raids, if examined thoroughly, would suggest that these are nothing but a make-believe affair to dodge the law.
It is generally seen that usually Supreme Court, in such cases, instead of granting the bail, asks the absconder to surrender before the trial court and move the application for bail. Only in that situation, he surrenders and seeks the bail on its own merits.
Saini, under the circumstances, can also play the game of the second inning in the field of law by assailing the order of Session Court taking cognizance of the murder before the High Court and, if not succeeds again to the Supreme Court.
Punjab Police is recognized for its swiftness in arresting the accused by deploying all tricks and other modes dehors the law by causing uncalled for torture etc. etc. to the family members, and also unlawfully detaining them.
But in the present case as is being popularly said that ‘When the Sheriff is the lover, who is going to cause fear’, is happening with atrocious audacity.
The hide and seek game is being played by the absconder in active complicity and connivance with the administrative dispensation. It reminds me of the age-old adage that Law Rules the poor and rich/influential Rules the law.
The record of the absconder reveals that he, besides the case of Multani is also facing the trial in the case of abduction and illegal detainment of Ludhiana based businessman Vinod Kumar, Ashok Kumar, and their driver. It is bizarre that despite the lapse of such a long period, the corpus of the above persons was not found.
Therefore, the case was investigated by the CBI and the trial is going on before a Special CBI court at Delhi, so that Saini could not influence the scales of Justice and escape from the clutches of law.
It is not uncommon that the criminal cases die with their weight chivalry, the prolonged trial, and the natural death of the material witnesses. Resultantly, Justice remains elusive and a mirage to the suffering party. It would be in the holy trinity of law, justice and fair play that the trials be conducted in a time-bound manner lest the material evidence evaporates.
The Supreme Court, in the case of Rattiram, (2012) 4 SCC 516, concerning the right to a speedy trial in terms of Article 21 held that it is not the exclusive right of the accused but is a collective requirement of society and the victim is also entitled to it.
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