New Delhi: In a major setback to the
personnel indicted in the Samba spy case, the Armed Forces
Tribunal Monday dismissed their petitions as similar pleas were
already rejected by the respective high courts earlier.
One of the seven petitions was also dismissed on the
ground of delay in approaching the courts for justice.
Observing that the petitions were "not maintainable",
the Tribunal Bench headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha and
Lieutenant General (retd) S S Dhillon dismissed them.
After the petitions were transferred from the Delhi
High Court to the Tribunal, Army counsels Colonel
Balasubramanian and Lt Col Naveen Sharma had filed a plea
urging the Tribunal to reject the cases as similar petitions
of the applicants were rejected earlier by high courts.
Of the eight petitions in the Tribunal, petitions of
Captains Ranbir Singh Rathore, Sewa Ram and Ashok Rana and
Gunners Banarsi Lal, Satpal Singh and Milkhi Ram were rejected
as their petitions were dismissed earlier by high courts.
Petition of Gunner Hari Singh was dismissed due to
delay of 24 years in approaching the court as his GCM was held
in 1978 and he filed a petition in Delhi High Court only in
Reacting to the judgement, one of the petitioners
Captain Sewa Ram said, "We have not yet seen the verdict but
we would certainly consider the option of approaching the
Around 50 personnel of 168 Brigade deployed along the
Line-of-Control (LoC) were punished after being accused of
spying for Pakistan on the basis of statements given by former
gunners Sarwan Dass and Aya Singh during 1978-79.
The whole case was reopened after the Intelligence
Bureau caught Dass and Singh on spying charges but they were
not punished by the Army for espionage but for petty offences
like being `Absent without Leave`.
Dass had claimed in 1994 that he had falsely
implicated the officers and jawans in the case under pressure
from higher officers of that time.
Dass at present lives in his village near Jammu
whereas Singh was reportedly shot dead by troops while trying
to enter Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) by crossing the LoC