Major's plea against court martial in Kargil war rejected

New Delhi: A Major, who was dismissed for military indiscipline during the Kargil war, Monday failed to get any reprieve from the Armed Forces Tribunal, which dismissed his petition challenging his court martial.

Rejecting the plea filed by Major Manish Bhatnagar, Tribunal Bench headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha said, "We don't find any merit in the plea and it is dismissed."

The officer had filed the plea against his General Court Martial (GCM), which had recommended his expulsion from Army on charges of improperly stating to his superiors about the poor physical condition of his troops during the war and violating 'good order and military discipline'.

During the GCM, it was first alleged that Bhatnagar had refused to attack the peak Point 5203 on orders of the then 70 Brigade Commander Brigadier Devinder Singh by telling him that after a long walk and climb down from Siachen glacier, his troops were unfit for any attack missions.

The officer was acquitted of the first charged after Brig Devinder himself deposed before the GCM and said that he had only briefed the officer about the plan to attack and no orders for assaulting the peak were issued.

After Brig Singh's statement, the officer was tried for the other charge and was dismissed from service.

Bhatnagar had contended that he was asked by his Commanding Officer Colonel A K Srivastava to climb down from Siachen glacier and report to the Batalik-based 70 Infantry Brigade along with four junior officers and 80 men from the 5 Parachute Regiment.

The officer told the Tribunal that he had apprised the superior officer about the condition of his troops as he was under obligation to do so because the Brigadier was looking for fit and highly-motivated troops for attacking the peak occupied by Pakistan Army regulars.