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"The officer told me to act dead"

October 25, 2004 18:31 IST

A rifleman, who posed as a dead enemy soldier to record a fake encounter in Siachen, deposed before a military court in Jodhpur on Monday.

The court is hearing a case against army officer Major Surinder Singh, who is accused of having stage managed the encounter.

Narrating the video recording that happened on August 24 last year, rifleman Shyam Bahadur Thapa told the court how he was asked by the accused officer to act dead.

"In the first attempt I was even pulled up when I could not pose to the satisfaction of the accused officer directing the 'scene', he said.

Thapa would now be shown the video of the fake encounter on Tuesday in the court during his examination. Earlier, the court rejected a submission by Major Singh that the proceeding should be adjourned as his counsel R S Randhawa had withdrawn from the case and he needed time to get a new counsel.

"Since the witnesses appearing in the court now will be crucial, I will not be able to defend myself without help from a counsel," Major Singh pleaded.

However, the judge, advocate S V Rao, said the accused had already been provided a well-qualified defending officer Lt Col A R Panwar and if he was not satisfied with the DO he was free to fight his case himself.

Opposing Major Singh's plea, prosecution counsel R.N.Singh said the defence counsel, who was also an officer of the court, should have properly intimated the court about his decision of withdrawing from the case.

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