Bougal Ram can now lead a life of dignity. Hired by the Military Intelligence 21 years ago as a source for Rs 2,500 a month,he was disowned after he returned home penniless after spending eight years in Multan Central Jail. After almost a decade-long legal battle in the Delhi High Court with the same grit that helped Ram survive the trauma of living in a jail,Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the government to acknowledge Ram and pay him Rs 5 lakh compensation for the years he lost,simply identified as Entry Number 1249/C in a prison cell at Multan Central Jail in Pakistan.
Bougal Ram was arrested in Pakistan on July 24,1992 and remained there under detention till 2000. As per enquiries made by the government,he had made several trips to Pakistan and gone to Lahore,Sialkot,Gujranwala and Faislabad. In view of the peculiar facts of the case and the report filed by the government,it is directed that a sum of Rs 5,00,000 be paid to the petitioner (Ram) within five weeks, Justice Khanna ordered recently.
I cannot get those years back. Some compensation for the hard work would help me and my family, Ram,a native of Sangar village in Jammu District,told the court.
His petition starts with how he had joined the 3rd 615 Intelligence and Field Security Unit as a source for a monthly income of Rs 2,500 on May 20,1988 after intensive training in Shimla. For four years,from 1988 to 1992,I made trips across the border and repeatedly penetrated deep into Pakistan territory, he claimed.
After his arrest in Multan,Ram was tried and found guilty under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act of 1923 by an army court and sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment. He was 23 years old.
His jail term over,he and another prisoner were exchanged over the Wagah Border on December 18,2000,the petition recounts.
Responding to his two-fold prayer to the court to release payment due and payable to the petitioner (Ram) for the services rendered in the 3rd 615 Intelligence and Field Security Unit and compensation for the trauma suffered in jail,the government denied the unit having ever employed Ram as a source. It contended that the Military Intelligence (MI) Training School is in Pune and no training is carried out by MI elsewhere.