M A I N   N E W S

Colonel dismissed for leaking information
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
A general court martial has dismissed a colonel from service over the leak 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. Copies of certain reports and documents were made by the officer when he was posted to Dharamsala for raising 9 Corps, which were duplicated by the clerk and later passed on to Pakistani operatives.

The court found the officer, Col Deepak Raina, guilty of all five charges levelled against him under various provisions of the Army Act, sources said. The court's verdict is subject to confirmation by higher authorities.

This is the first known case since the 1971 Indo-Pak war, where an officer has been tried by a court martial for loss of information. The trial comes at a time when the defence establishment has been deeply embroiled in leak of sensitive information like the National Security Council Secretariat breach, the naval Scorpene deal controversy and the arrest of low ranking army personnel on charges of espionage.

The trial, presided over by Deputy GOC, 2 Mountain Division, Brig P.S. Minhas, had commenced at Talelpur near Guwahati in mid-September and concluded on October 27. The colonel had pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled by him and had maintained that he had made copies of documents, which were leaked by the clerk, with permission. The clerk, L/Nk Javed Khan, was later sentenced to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment.

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 and other reports 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.

Three charges levelled against him under Section 63 of the Army Act, include getting unauthorised copies of documents made, allowing a fax machine to be installed in the clerks' room instead of an officer's room as required and failure to forward an intelligence report within the stipulated time. Two charges pertained to misbehaviour with jawans.

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

The Army had then admitted a breach of security. The documents passed on by Javed and his father, are said to include minutes of a meeting held in October 2004, in which the then Army chief, Gen N.C. Vij, was present, and another in April 2005 which was attended by the present Army chief, Gen J.J. Singh, details of missile deployments and weapons upgradation, redeployment plans of infantry battalions, sector-wise deployment of 4 Corps troops along the border with China, background notes for a scheduled Army commanders conference and doctrinal documents on warfare in a nuclear backdrop.



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