SC remits Samba spy case for consideration
The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a Delhi High Court judgment declaring invalid the court martial of Capt RS Rathaur and Capt AK Rana of the Indian Army for their alleged involved in the 1975 Samba espionage case.
Though the army had sentenced the two officers to 14 years in prison and dismissed them from service after the court martial, the high court had quashed these proceedings and held that they were entitled to all consequential benefits.
The government had then filed an appeal in the apex court against the high court's judgment.
Allowing the appeal, a bench of judges Arijit Pasayat and Tarun Chatterjee said: "The high court judgment is full of erroneous conclusions factually, which shows complete non-application of mind."
The apex court remitted the matter back to the high court with a direction to first decide the question of maintainability and to dispose of the matter within four months.
The bench was of the view that the high court had not discussed as to how the matters, which stood concluded, could be re-opened in the manner done. No sufficient grounds had been indicated as to why the high court felt it necessary to do so, it said.
The government's case was that in February 1971, Gunner Sarwan Dass was cultivated by Pakistan intelligence. In 1972, Capt Ghalwat and Dass crossed the international border.
In 1973, Ghalwat and Dass were posted at Babina in Madhya Pradesh. 1n 1974, Gen. Aya Singh was cultivated by Dass for the Pakistan intelligence and the espionage racket came to be noticed for the first time in 1975.
A total of 42 army personnel, including 19 officers, four junior commissioned officers and 19 other ranks were arrested. The two petitioners were among the officers who were convicted.
The government contended that the matter had attained finality with the apex court deciding against the petitioners.