Govt should challenge high court order on Saini cases to expedite probe into sacrilege violence: Punjab special public prosecutor

Senior advocate Rajwinder Singh Bains, the newly appointed special public prosecutor in the post-sacrilege violence cases, said the Punjab government should immediately challenge the Punjab and Haryana high court order of September 10 staying probe into criminal cases involving former director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini to ensure speedy justice in the cases.

Bains said that Saini’s role is “central point” of the entire episode and it can’t be probed due to the September 10 judgment of the high court.

“Circumstances have changed now. The state government has fresh grounds. Former chief minister Amarinder Singh and his media adviser BS Chahal, against whom Saini’s allegations of vendetta were directed at, are not in a position to influence the probe anymore. Therefore, either “quashing or stray order” needs to be secured so that SIT can start the probe,” he said.

The HC on September 10 had stayed investigations against Saini in criminal cases till February 2020 observing that his involvement in multiple cases could be a “political ploy” in the wake of the upcoming assembly elections.

Bains, who was appointed to deal with the four FIRs into the 2015 post-sacrilege violence incidents as advocate general APS Deol could not have appeared in these cases having defended Saini and suspended ADGP Paramraj Singh Umarangal.

Bains said he has started examining the case documents. “In my discussions with the government officials, I have pointed out that this order (September 10 order) needs to be challenged as entire prosecution case hinges around Saini’s role,” he said.

There is “legally no clean path” for the prosecution in this case and is “full of obstacles”, he added. “But I have to present the case on the basis of investigation carried out by police. I can’t dictate terms of probe. Also a lot will depend on how early we are able to clear the legal hurdles such as the high court order in Saini’s case,” Bains said.

Then Amarinder Singh-led government had come under criticism, even from within the party, for tardy probe into these cases.

Legal experts say that even in Behbal Kalan case in which challan has been presented, chargesheet names Saini and Umranangal, among others as accused. But the high court order on quashing of challans in the Kotkapura case casts a shadow on this case as well since the chargesheet was signed by former SIT member Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, who later took premature retirement from the police force. This is one of the grounds taken by Saini and others in high court in the petitions filed challenging it. They say in view of Kotkapura judgment, this challan too stands vitiated.

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