Tribunal reinstates Army officer sacked 15 yrs ago

Last Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010 - 20:06

New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal has
reinstated an army officer sacked 15 years ago, setting aside
orders of a General Court Martial dismissing him from service.

G R Verma was accused of bringing false charges against a
Havaldar, from whose custody a jawan accused of robbery had
escaped.

Pronouncing the verdict in the case, the Tribunal Bench
headed by the Justice S S Kulshreshtha and Justice S S Dhillon
said, "We are of the view that the prosecution failed to
establish Charges against Verma... the findings of the GCM are
not sustainable."

The Tribunal also ordered the Army to pay Verma the
arrears of his pension and other consequential benefits.

In 1995, the GCM had recommended Verma`s dismissal from
service and forfeited 50 per cent of his pension.

Verma`s counsel Major K Ramesh said the case relates to
the escape of a jawan, who was in custody for bank robbery. He
escaped from under the guard of one Havaldar Terdal.

After the incident, Ramesh said, on the instructions of
his Commanding Officer, Verma filed the chargesheet against
Terdal, who pleaded guilty in the court of inquiry.

But later, after the Division Commander acquitted the
Havaldar, a charge-sheet was issued against Verma on six
counts including "improperly preferring a false charge"
against the Havaldar.

Maj Ramesh argued if Terdal`s punishment could not be
sustained, no culpability could be fixed on the part of Verma
and alleged that Verma`s Commanding Officer had concocted the
entire issue to "save his skin".

He said the "entire case was fabricated and the GCM had
no convincing evidence to declare my client guilty."

Agreeing with Ramesh`s contention, the Tribunal observed
that there was no allegation against Verma that he manipulated
materials to falsely prosecute Terdal.

"The charge was approved by the CO and the accused was
tried by him and on the basis of the plea of guilt, Terdal was
sentenced to be severely reprimanded. The CO cannot shift the
blame onto his subordinate," it added.

PTI



First Published: Friday, July 23, 2010 - 20:06

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