A three-year-old espionage case involving the Technical Services Division (TSD) — the now-disbanded covert operations unit of the Army — has taken a fresh turn with orders being passed for the unit’s commanding officer, Colonel Hunny Bakshi, to be attached to Nabha for a “summary of evidence” against him.
The order was signed on October 12. Nabha is the headquarters of the Army’s Ist Armoured Division in Patiala. The setting up of a fresh “summary of evidence” comes about four months after a 10-year jail term was pronounced against Sham Das D, the TSD clerk who was arrested in Kerala in 2012.
The move comes almost two years after the recommendation, in November 2013, that “suitable disciplinary action” should be taken against the commanding officer also.
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The TSD — which was established during the tenure of then Army Chief General V K Singh — has been the subject of several controversies. After Singh’s retirement, the Army had disbanded the unit in August 2012, after which an inquiry was set up under Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia.
The inquiry report has not been made public, though it is understood to have asked for an independent agency to investigate the TSD’s functioning and alleged misuse of secret service funds.
The 35-odd personnel manning the TSD were transferred out. It was Bakshi who took the unusual step of writing to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with an appeal that the proceedings of the GCM and all documents pertaining to the TSD be kept secret in view of the sensitivity and built-in “deniability” of its operations.