Army`s ex-Lt Gen put on trial for leaking official secrets

Nirmal Puri had joined the Indian Army on December 11, 1949 and had retired on March 17, 1985.

New Delhi: A retired Lieutenant-General has been put on trial by a Delhi court for allegedly divulging sensitive secret information about the country`s arms and
ammunition system to an international arms dealing firm, impinging upon the nation`s security.

Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja put lieutenant general (retd) Nirmal Puri on trial along with M/s Concord International Pvt Ltd`s official Vinod Khanna, whom the top Army officer had allegedly supplied sensitive information in 1984-87.

The court put the duo on trial after framing charges under various provisions of the Official Secret Act and the India Penal Code against them.
"During the period 1984-87, both of you entered into criminal conspiracy in order to obtain, collect, communicate secret/ classified/ official information/ documents pertaining to the defence of the country with the purpose that same may be prejudicial to the safety or interest of the state," the court said.

Puri is alleged to have prepared two hand-written notes containing classified information regarding equipment like light tanks, radio sets for AFV, training simulators and others.

The notes were recovered during search conducted in the premises of M/s Concord International Pvt Ltd from its Golf Links office here on February 2, 1987.

"During the aforesaid period, you being Lieutenant- General in the Indian Army and having access, owing to your position as a person who had held office under the Indian Army, wilfully communicated such note/ information to Khanna, a person who is other than to whom you were authorised to communicate it," the ASJ said.

Khanna was charged with obtaining the information which "might be or is intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy".

The court noted the disclosure of such information "is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state or friendly relations with foreign state".

Puri had joined the Indian Army on December 11, 1949 and had retired on March 17, 1985.

The FIR was registered in January 1988 against Puri and Khanna following a complaint by DML Malhotra, under secretary of the Ministry of Defence, and the chargesheet was filed in 1989.

PTI

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