New Delhi: An Indian Navy Commander, court
martialled and sentenced to two years in jail for his alleged
role in a case of financial bungling, was on Tuesday ordered
released by the Delhi High Court.
A bench of justices Anil Kumar and Sudarshan Mishra
directed the Indian Navy to release Commander N Rajesh Kumar
on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and stayed the Navy`s December
6 court martial order sentencing the officer.
The court gave its order on a plea by Commander Kumar
contending that he had been sentenced and jailed in violation
of its November 24 order which had barred the Navy from
pronouncing its court martial verdict unless his plea to the
high court against his court of inquiry (CoI) is decided.
Appearing for Commander Kumar, a member of the maritime
force`s high-profile skydiving team, senior advocate Meet
Malhotra told the bench that the Navy had also ignored his
client`s argument that he was not given an opportunity to
defend himself during the probe.
Commander Kumar was court martialled and convicted along
with another officer, Lieutenant Commander Mahesh Birajdar,
also a member of the skydiving team, on similar charges.
The duo had earlier been found prima facie guilty of
financial bungling, on the pretext of taking part in adventure
sports activities, by the Naval board of inquiry.
The two were the senior-most members of the Navy`s
adventure team with a series of national record-breaking
jumps, including a "freefall" over the South Pole in 2006.
They were alleged to have used government funds for personal
reasons like availing an extended vacation in Paris.