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Supreme Court grants anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Saini in murder case

Bench asks him to surrender his passport, co-operate with probe and not to influence witnesses in the case

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Sumedh Singh Saini

New Delhi, December 3: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani murder case.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, asked Saini to surrender his passport, co-operate with the investigation and not to influence witnesses in the case.

If arrested, the former Punjab DGP would be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties in the like amount, the top court said.

The Bench had reserved its verdict on November 17 after hearing arguments from senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Saini and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Punjab Government.

Even during the hearing the Bench had questioned the need for custody of the accused after 30 years of the crime observed that it was prima facie inclined to grant anticipatory bail.

Multani — a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation — was allegedly picked up by the police in December 1991 after a terror attack on Saini that left three policemen killed. Saini was injured in the attack.

Saini’s troubles started in May when he was booked at a police station in Mohali along with six others for the alleged kidnapping of Multani in 1991. Murder charge was added in August after two of the accused policemen spill the beans.

The Punjab government had opposed Saini’s plea. Granting anticipatory bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the probe, Luthra had argued.

The Supreme Court had on September 15 granted interim protection from arrest to Saini and posted his plea for anticipatory bail for hearing after four weeks.

Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 7 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.

“This case is of 1991. After 30 years what is the hurry to arrest him… We will grant you time to file a reply,” the Bench had said, adding he will not be arrested till further orders.

However, the top court had asked Saini to co-operate with the Punjab Police in the investigation of the case.

Rohatgi had earlier contended that Punjab government was after Saini because he had filed two charge sheets in which current Chief Minister Capt Amarinder was an accused. “This is why they are after me,” he had submitted.

In a separate petition, Saini has also challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing of the FIR in the case.

He is also facing trial in a Special CBI Court in Delhi along with three others for alleged abduction and disappearance of automobile businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh in 1994.

India

Centre convenes all-party meet on Jan 30 ahead of Budget session

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Parliament

The Modi government has called an all-party meeting on January 30 to hold discussions ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on February 1.

The Centre has invited leaders of all political parties in both the Houses to the proposed meeting slated to begin at 11.30 am through videoconference. Sources said the National Democratic Alliance parties too will meet on the same day.

Parliament’s Budget session will be held in two phseses amid all precautions against coronavirus — from January 29 to February 15, and from March 8 to April 8.

The all-party meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s Rajya Sabha leader Thawarchand Gehlot, Deputy Leader Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan.The one-hour Question Hour has been restored in the Budget session, which was suspended during the Monsoon session in September 2020 during corona pandemic.Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that corona tests for members att

ending the Parliament session will be mandatory.

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Right to salary a fundamental right: Delhi HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 20 : The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations for the non-payment of salaries and pensions to their employees, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a batch of petitions in relation to the non-payment of salaries and pensions to the employees of Delhi municipal corporations, particularly North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“Reason assigned for non-payment of timely salaries is stated to be paucity of funds which, as is well settled, cannot be an excuse for non-payment, keeping in view the fact that the right to receive salary and pension is a fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution and non-payment would have direct bearing on quality of life,” the court stated.

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NCP should decide on poll alliance soon: Goa leader

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Sharad Pawar

The Nationalist Congress Party should decide its political strategy for the 2022 Assembly polls in Goa well ahead of time, NCP state president Jose Philip D’Souza said on Wednesday.

D’Souza also said that party supremo Sharad Pawar was scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday for a brief visit to meet with the state executive committee members and discuss strategy for the upcoming polls.

“We will be discussing our electoral agenda with Sharad Pawarji, because elections are just a year away,” D’Souza said.

“Planning should be done in advance. If like minded parties want to go together for the 2022 elections, it has to be decided now. We will be discussing this issue,” D’Souza also said.
The party had fared poorly in the 2017 Assembly polls winning just one seat in the 40-member Goa Assembly, after much delayed talks for an alliance with the Congress failed.

D’Souza claims that it was imperative for the party to ensure that if the party was to ally with a “like-minded” party for the 2022 polls, the deal had to be sewn together sooner rather than later.

“Whether we should go with an alliance with other parties or not, it has to be decided now. If we leave it for too late, with a month or two to go for elections, then there is limited scope for discussion and things can go wrong. The talks should begin now,” D’Souza said, adding that he would be discussing the matter with Pawar.

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