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Major charged with Siachen killings alleges pressure

August 02, 2004 14:34 IST

An army officer, accused of 'fake killings' in Siachen last year, has charged that he was being forced to complete the cross-examination of witnesses hastily in the military court in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Major Surinder Singh, company commander of a Gorkha Battalion who is facing disciplinary action for allegedly staging the fake killings of enemy troops, complained to the presiding officer of the court, Brigadier Phillip Campose, that he had been called to the corps headquarters on Saturday night, specifically to the office of Brigadier Binod Kumar, where he was asked to complete the proceedings quickly.

Major Singh also gave a letter to the presiding officer of the court alleging that Brig Kumar, in the presence of four other senior officers, asked him to finish the cross-examination of witnesses quickly or face the consequences.

The recording of the summary of evidence, which has been continuing since May 27, in fact was speeded up over the weekend with the court holding an unscheduled sitting on Sunday. The media was kept in the dark about it.

At the hearing, Brig Campose closed the evidence of Lance Nayak Shyam Lal Thapa after Major Singh said he was unable to cross-examine the witness in the absence of a video cassette pertaining to an encounter on August 8, 2003, led by Major A K Gaur.

Major Singh had complained to the court earlier also that he was being forced to shorten the summary of evidence as a followup of a court of inquiry which recommended disciplinary action against Major Singh for making exaggerated claims.

In May this year a court of inquiry had found Major Surinder Singh culpable of having 'faked killings of some enemy personnel and destruction of some enemy bunkers', and ordered disciplinary action against him.

The court had also held Col K D Singh, commanding officer of the battalion, and his adjutant Major Rohit Lama guilty of 'administrative lapses' and ordered 'administrative action' against them.

 

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