CBI books top Punjab police officer (Lead)

July 4th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 4 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday booked Punjab Police Inspector General Sumedh Singh Saini for allegedly abducting a youth in 1991 with the intent to murder him. Saini, a controversial but daring Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who was actively involved in counter-terrorism operations in Punjab in 1980s and early 90s and is presently director-vigilance, has been booked with three other Chandigarh police officials and other unidentified officials.

The whereabouts of the Sikh youth, Balwant Singh Multani, who was picked up at the behest of Saini after an assassination attempt on the police officer here Aug 29, 1991, remains a mystery. Most people though believe that Multani was eliminated by Saini and others.

Others booked by the CBI include Chandigarh police officials Baldev Singh (now retired), Harsahai Sharma and Jagir Singh.

Saini was then the senior superintendent of police in the Chandigarh police when a powerful bomb blast took place on the route on which his high-security motorcade was moving in Sector 17 here.

Saini survived the deadly blast that killed three other security personnel accompanying him.

Multani was picked up by the police teams led by Saini in Dec 1991. He was considered a close aide of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a top Khalistani terrorist who masterminded the blast on Saini.

Bhullar was sentenced to death in another case of an assassination attempt on former Indian Youth Congress chief Maninderjit Singh Bitta. He is presently in prison in Delhi.

Multani, an engineer by profession and son of a Punjab bureaucrat, was tortured by the police after being booked under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) . The police later said that Multani escaped from custody in Qadian town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, 250 km from here.

A case pertaining to investigating the whereabouts of Multani has been pending with the Punjab and Haryana high court here. The CBI Friday told the court that it had booked Saini in this case.

Saini and others have been charged with abduction with the intent to murder, criminal conspiracy, fabricating false evidence, wrongful confinement and voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession.

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