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Colonel indicted in espionage case
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A serving Colonel has been held blameworthy for loss of highly sensitive military information, which was reportedly passed on to Pakistani intelligence by an Army jawan posted as a clerk in his office, it is learnt.

While posted in the operations branch at a corps headquarters, the officer had reportedly got copies of certain documents made from the clerk, Lance Naik Javed Khan, who duplicated the same for his nefarious activities. The copies were apparently made in violation of security procedures. The sources revealed that the clerk has been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by a General Court Martial (GCM) and the action against the Colonel is an off-shoot of the GCM.

A Court of Inquiry (COI), presided over by the General Officer Commanding, 20 Mountain Division, had held the officer blameworthy on several counts for breach of security. He faces charges under the Official Secrets Act as well as Section 63 of the Army Act for violation of good order and military discipline.

Sources said following the COI recommending disciplinary action against the Colonel, he has been attached to a brigade for recording of summary of evidence (SoE). A decision whether to try the officer by court martial would be arrived at after the SOE, being recorded by Brig Sandhu, is reviewed.

This is perhaps for the fist time since 1971 that an officer is facing disciplinary action in an espionage related case. The sordid Samba Spy Case in the aftermath of the 1971 Indo-Pak war saw several officers being convicted by the court martial on charges of espionage. Though the Delhi High Court acquitted the officers a few years ago, the verdict was subsequently stayed and the matter is still pending. In the recent past, however, there have been several instances of other ranks being convicted on such charges

The accused officer is said to have been hand-picked for his professional proficiency by Lieut-Gen A.S. Jamwal, when the latter proceeded to Yol near Dharamshala to raise 9 Corps last year. He had commanded a field artillery unit during Operation Parakram and has also served in France.

Sources said that after the officer was posted from Headquarters 4 Corps to 9 Corps for its raising, he allegedly got copies of various operational procedures made which could be of “help” or “assistance” In getting the new formation off the ground. The copies were saved on a compact disk, which were reportedly duplicated by Javed. Copies of several other classified reports and intelligence assessments were also made by Javed.

Javed had been arrested along with his father, Hanif Khan, a retired IAF sergeant from Guwahati in July last during a joint operation by the Intelligence Bureau and the Assam Police.

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