Espionage case: SC seeks Centre`s response on sacked Naval officer
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Last Updated: Friday, October 01, 2010, 21:41
  
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Union Government on the special leave petition filed by former Naval Commander Vinod Kumar Jha challenging his dismissal in the 2005 Navy war room leak case.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha issued notice to the Government on Jha's petition through counsel Sukhjinder Singh seeking reinstatement claiming he was falsely implicated, subjected to third degree torture and dismissed without proper court martial proceedings.

Jha had moved the Supreme Court after the Armed Forces Tribunal on June 30 dismissed his plea along with that of Commander Vijender Rana.

He reiterated the plea in the apex court that he had been made a scapegoat to save the kin of the then Navy Chief Arun Prakash, a contention that was earlier dismissed by the Armed Forces Tribunal.

The Tribunal had on June 30 dismissed the plea of Jha and Rana that no court martial was held against them which would have given them an opportunity to defend themselves.

The duo had claimed before the Tribunal that they were made "sacrificial goats" to save the kin of the then Navy Chief Arun Prakash and alleged the latter's nephew, Ravi Shankaran, was the "real culprit" in the case.

Opposing their plea, the Navy argued that the officers were dismissed from service without any inquiry as court martial would not have been "conducive in the public interest" as it would have involved the security of the State.

Agreeing with Navy's contention, the Tribunal Bench headed by Justice A K Mathur said "it will not be in public interest and the security of the State to give a show cause notice to the petitioner of holding of court martial as the disclosure of the same will seriously prejudice the security of the country."

"We do not find any merit in both the cases and same are dismissed," it added.

The Tribunal added that disclosures in the Board of Inquiry against Rana and Jha were "so serious" that authorities thought it proper not to order any further inquiry against their reputation and character.

"It was also realised that holding of inquiry and disclosing of the war room secrets will be more injurious to the security of the country," the Tribunal said.

The two officers, arrested by CBI in 2006 under Official Secrets Act, are at present lodged in Tihar jail here.

Nine people including former IAF Wing Commander Sambhaji Rao Surve and Ravi Shankaran were charged for leaking secrets from Navy's war room.

After the matter came to light, Navy constituted a Board of Inquiry into it and Rana and Jha were found guilty and sacked along with Captain Kashyap Kumar (the then Director of Naval Operations).

PTI


First Published: Friday, October 01, 2010, 21:41


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