Updated: December 12, 2017 4:16:04 am
The bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) hearing the case of former Kargil brigade commander, Brig Surinder Singh (retd), has asked him to file an affidavit on how he came into possession of certain documents which pertain to asking for satellite imagery of Pakistani positions opposite his brigade’s area of responsibility.
The bench of Justice MS Chauhan and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra (retd) gave the directions on an application field by Brigadier Surinder Singh seeking to bring on record a letter written by the 121 (Independent) Infantry Brigade to the Headquarters of 3 Infantry Division. The letter, written in August 1998, several months before the Kargil intrusions were detected in May 1999, had asked for satellite imagery of the Pakistani areas which were opposite the Kargil Brigade.
The former brigade commander has also been asked to file an affidavit on another document which he sought to be made part of the record. This pertained to a ‘Signal’ which had been issued ordering him to appear at Headquarters of 25 Infantry Division to face a Court of Inquiry pertaining to him having leaked classified information. The bench also dismissed an application of Brig Surinder Singh which had pointed out that former Army Chief General VP Malik (retd) had certain documents in his possession after retirement which were confidential in nature and which he could not possess legally.
The petitioner had sought to place certain documents on record which showed that the main allegation against him, pertaining to his having obtained classified documents without proper clearance and having made photocopies of the documents, was frivolous and not sustainable on the law and facts. It was stated that after his retirement, Gen Malik had attached some classified documents with his reply to a writ petition filed by Brig Surinder Singh.
It was alleged that these copies of classified documents may have been obtained by the former Army Chief by retaining copies even after retirement. It was alleged that this act was identical to that of Brig Surinder Singh on the basis of which he was removed from service. It was also stated in the application that the Army had given a reply under the RTI Act that the documents attached by Gen Malik had been destroyed by the Army after following due process.
Meanwhile, the final arguments in the case did not take place Friday (December 8) as expected because the bench said that it will first dispose of the miscellaneous applications field by the applicant before taking up the main case. Earlier, in January 2016, another bench, comprising Justice Prakash Krishna and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chahcra (retd) had said that all applications will be disposed of with the main petition itself.
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