New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal today
rejected petitions of two former naval officers, accused in
the Navy war room leak case, for re-instatement and dismissed
their contention that they had been discriminated against.
The Tribunal also refused to give any relief to
Commander Vijender Rana and Commander Vinod Kumar Jha on their
contention that no court martial was held against them which
would have given them an opportunity to defend themselves.
Rana and Jha, who challenged their dismissal from
service following allegations of leaking secret information of
the navy, had alleged that they were made "sacrificial goats"
to save the kin of the then Navy Chief Arun Prakash.
In their petition, they alleged that Prakash`s kin 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.
Alleging "discrimination", Jha and Rana had sought to
equate their case to an IAF officer accused in the same
scandal, saying he was tried by a Court of Inquiry but they
were not accorded any such opportunity.
Observing that there was "no question of
discrimination", the Tribunal said the IAF officer "was
charged for a serious omission and commission reflecting about
his military reputation and the character, whereas, in the
present case no such charge was levelled against these
officers involving their reputation and character."
It 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 Rana, Jha, 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).