New Delhi, Nov 28 IANS | 2 years ago

Punjab police chief Sumedh Singh Saini appeared in a court here Thursday on summons issued against him in a 1994 case of abduction of three members of a Ludhiana-based business family who are still missing.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge A.K. Mendiratta had Nov 20 directed the director general of police (DGP) to be present in the courtroom during the cross examination of key witness Ashish Kumar, the brother of Vinod Kumar - one of the three missing people who are believed to be dead.

Ashish Kumar has requested court to direct Saini to remain present in court for a speedy trial of the case.

The DGP has meanwhile filed a plea in the district and sessions court, urging for transfer of the case to anther court, alleging that Special Judge A.K. Mendiratta is biased.

Saini, appearing before Mendiratta Thursday, informed him that he has filed a plea for transferring the case.

His counsel Ajay Burman requested the court to defer the hearing till District and Sessions Judge A.K. Chawla decides on the transfer petition.

The CBI opposed this, saying the district and sessions judge had not passed a stay order on the case so far. He requested the court to continue the cross examination.

However, Judge Mendiratta deferred the hearing for Jan 9, 2014 saying that cross examination of Ashish Kumar would be fixed subject to the order on the transfer petition.

The DGP had told Chawla that the Delhi High Court had granted him exemption from personal appearance in the case keeping in mind the security threat to his life.

Ludhiana-based businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh had been taken into custody on March 1994, at a police station in Ludhiana and had thereafter gone missing. The CBI claims that Saini, then the Ludhiana police chief, had booked Vinod in a case of economic offences.

The case against Saini and three other police officers, namely Sukhmohinder Singh (then Ludhiana SP), inspector Paramjit Singh (then SHO, Ludhiana) and inspector Balbir Chand Tiwari (then SHO police station Kotwali), was registered by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Later, the Supreme Court had transferred the case trial from a court in Ambala (Haryana) to Delhi.

The CBI in 2000 had charge sheeted Saini and the other accused policemen under sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC. The CBI court had later framed charges against them.

(Posted on 28-11-2013)