The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has come down heavily on Punjab Police and asked the state police chief to get the absconding Pakistan spy Kuldeep Singh arrested.
Kuldeep was dismissed from the army after a court martial found him guilty of spying and committing theft of army property in 2006.
While being in army, Kuldeep, a resident of Gurdaspur, crossed over to Pakistan along with his service weapon.
He remained absent for four years and eight months from 196 Field Regiment till he was apprehended by troops of 25 Punjab. He was charged with committing theft of the property belonging to the government as while leaving he took one carbine gun; twenty 9 mm ball ammunition and one carbine magazine with him. Between December 1999 and August 2004, Kuldeep had passed on secret information pertaining to the Indian military to Pakistan.
Kuldeep had filed an appeal before the Punjab and Haryana high court, which granted him bail in 2010 till the pendency of his appeal. After the formation of AFT, the case was transferred to it.
Kuldeep’s appeal was dismissed in January 2014, and it was ordered that since accused was on bail, he should surrender to military authorities within 15 days from the date of the order.
As he did not surrender, non-bailable warrants were issued but couldn’t be executed by the office of the Panchkula deputy commissioner of police. Thereafter, the non-bailable warrants were issued again in May 2015 and sent to Gurdaspur superintendent of police for its execution. The SP was also instructed that if Kuldeep could not be apprehended due to any reason, the details of his immovable property be obtained from the revenue agency and compliance thereof be reported to the AFT. However, Kuldeep could not be apprehended nor the details of his property were sent.
The AFT again sent a reminder to the Gurdaspur SP but in vain.
“All these facts are staring at us where the police (executing agency) should have shown concern...there appears to be a lukewarm response to such a grave situation. Indeed it is a very serious matter as the petitioner stood convicted and sentenced for serious offences, he could be a grave hazard to the security of the nation,” said the bench comprising justice Surinder Singh Thakur and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra (retd).
The bench asked the Punjab DGP to ensure that Kuldeep Singh is arrested (by an officer not below the rank of an SP) at the earliest. The copy of this order should also be sent to the Punjab home secretary, said the bench.