High Court Orders Release Of Punjab Ex-Top Cop Arrested In Cheating Case

Former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini was arrested by the state's Vigilance Bureau on Wednesday night in connection with a case registered in September 2020 for cheating, forgery and other offences.

High Court Orders Release Of Punjab Ex-Top Cop Arrested In Cheating Case

The former DGP was produced before a Mohali court on Thursday afternoon for seeking remand. (File)

Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High court on Thursday night ordered release of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini forthwith, who was arrested on charges of cheating and forgery, among others.

Saini was arrested by the state's Vigilance Bureau on Wednesday night in connection with a case registered in September 2020 for cheating, forgery and other offences.

The court of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi pronounced the order around midnight.

"The court said he (Saini) is to be released forthwith," said Saini's counsel Himmat Singh Deol.

According to the high court, Saini's custody in the September 2020 case was "illegal and unjustified", another counsel APS Deol said.

A seven-day prior notice is to be given if he is to be arrested in this case, the counsel said.

Mr Deol said according to the court, it was the "flagrant misuse of the power by police and misuse of power by the vigilance".

The counsel said the detailed order is yet to come.

The order came after hearing two petitions -- one was habeas corpus and another to seek protection as per the last year's high court order in which it was directed to give a seven-day notice before arresting in any case pertaining to any incident during Saini's entire service career.

Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, was appointed the Director General of Police (DGP) in 2012. He was removed from the post in 2015 after protests erupted over a series of sacrilege incidents. He retired in 2018.

The former DGP was produced before a Mohali court on Thursday afternoon for seeking remand.

The high court had asked the Mohali court not to give any order on the remand.

The high court took up the matter at 3 pm and the arguments lasted for three-and-half hours.

Saini was apprehended on Wednesday night when he had arrived at the Vigilance Bureau headquarters in Mohali to join investigation in a disproportionate assets case.

The high court on August 12 had granted interim anticipatory bail to Saini in a disproportionate assets case that was registered against him and six others on August 2. But the court had asked him to join the investigation within a week.

Saini spent the night in a cell at the Vigilance Bureau office and his photo showing him behind the bars and sporting white beard went viral on social media.

According to the vigilance Bureau, he has been arrested under several sections, including 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The case was registered in September 2020 against Davinder Singh Sandhu, director of WWICS Estates Private Ltd, Ashok Sikka PCS officer (now retired), and some other officials of the local government department for illegal change of land use for a piece of land at Kurali with fake documents.

Later, the Vigilance Bureau booked PWD executive engineer Nimratdeep Singh, his father Surinderjit Singh Jaspal and some other persons for allegedly receiving a bribe from Davinder Sandhu for getting the colonies set up at Kurali certified.

The bureau claimed that the money received was used for purchasing a house in Chandigarh's Sector 20 in which Saini later stayed as a tenant.

In May 2020, Saini was also booked in the case of disappearance of Balwant Singh Multani in 1991. Multani was then a junior engineer with the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation.

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