She is fighting for her father’s and family’s honour. Urvashi Shandil, the daughter of former army captain ND Sharma — one of the 50-odd personnel accused in the 30-year-old Samba spy case — says her fight is against “official apathy”.
Sharma’s nine colleagues who challenged their dismissal were exonerated by the Delhi high court in 2000 of the same charges.
Sharma, a resident of Panchkula, and others moved the Supreme Court the same year. But the case dragged on without a single hearing for nine years. Though it was put on “fast-track” last year, it has not come up for hearing even once.
“My father and family have suffered for a very long time for no fault of ours,” said Shandil, a senior executive in a multinational bank. “Seeing my father bogged down, I have decided to fight for him against what I would call gross apathy of the authorities.” She recently wrote to President Pratibha Patil seeking an audience with her on the issue.
“It is not only the question of fighting to restore the honour of my father and his fellow officers, but also to bring to fore the facts about the agony the innocent officers and their families have undergone all these 30 years,” she said.
Shandil said it was “appalling” that while only two officers were court-martialed and dismissed, all others were sacked only “on the basis of doubts”.
Samba spy case Between August 1978 and February 1979, nearly 50 army personnel posted in Samba, about 40 km from Jammu on the international border, were arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan.
They were reportedly arrested at the instance of two-self confessed Pakistani spies working as gunners in the Indian Army. One of them, Sarwan Dass, declared in 1994 that he had falsely implicated the men.
The Delhi high court on December 21, 2000, said the army action against nine officers in the Samba spy case was a “gross miscarriage of justice”.