Saturday, December 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

MoD to study Samba verdict
Officers say they fell victim to vested interests

Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 22 — The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to study in detail the verdict of the Delhi High Court in the Samba spy case passed yesterday and then decide the further course of action.

MoD officials said whether or not the Supreme Court would be approached, would only be decided after the verdict had been studied in detail.

The High Court had yesterday seriously indicted the functioning of the Army, for what it called gross miscarriage of justice by the Army to its officers. A bench comprising Mr Justice Devinder Gupta and Mr Justice K. Ramamoorthy, exonerated the two former Captains, R.S. Rathaur and A.K. Rana, who had been court martialled by the Army and quashed the Army orders dismissing seven other officers.

In the 111-page judgement delivered by Mr Justice Ramamoorthy, the court ruled that all these nine officers, who had been detained for years on the charge of spying for Pakistan, were now entitled to all the “consequential benefits” since the action taken by the Army against each of them was “void in law.”

The court said that Rathaur and Rana had been convicted in the court martial proceedings “without a shred of evidence.” Further, the court martial proceedings against the other seven officers were found to have been dropped midway as they were likely to be acquitted and instead they were dismissed from service “without producing relevant record before the authority concerned”.

The court observed that the court martial proceedings were held only to give an air of verisimilitude and that the Army’s orders were merely camouflaged and had been passed for extraneous reasons. As a result the government and the Army failed miserably before the court to show that they had acted in accordance with law in initiating proceedings against the officers. The court added that it would not have interfered with the action taken in the Samba case “if any material worth mentioning had been found in the files”.

The Army had contended that there could be no judicial review of its power to terminate the services of any of its personnel without any material on record. The court said, the whole premise was contrary to the basic structure of the Constitution.

PTI adds: Four of the former Army officers, cleared by the High Court in the Samba spying case, on Friday alleged all 50 accused were victims of “whims and fancies” of some “vested interests” in the Army establishment.

“It is an irony of fate that a few officers of Military Intelligence (MI) have been able to baffle, concoct stories and succeed in creating one of the world’s biggest imaginary spy scandal,” Major N. R. Ajwani, Major R. K. Midha, Capt R S Rathaur and Capt J. S. Yadav told PTI while explaining the charges of espionage for Pakistan in the Samba sector in Jammu and Kashmir, levelled against them in mid-70s.Back

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