1. Why Were Over 50 Army Jawans Arrested?
Here’s how it began: In June 1975, Gunner Swaran Dass was arrested by his artillery unit in Madhya Pradesh following reports of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) accusing him of spying for Pakistan. He was handed over to the Military Intelligence (MI) in 1976 where he stayed in custody till 1978.
He confessed to his crimes.
In an interview with Indian Express in 2016, Dass alleged that when he crossed the border into Pakistan, he was tortured for having an Indian Army identification card, till he agreed to supply information to Pakistan’s Field Intelligence Unit at Sialkot. He said he recruited fellow officers from his brigade to join the task. Gunner Aya Singh was one of them, who was also arrested by the IB in July 1975 and handed over to the MI.
Both Dass and Singh were sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and dismissed from the army. They had implicated several others for spying, including Captain Ghalwat and Captain Nagial along with 12 other jawans, under interrogation.
Accordingly, in 1978, both the captains were arrested and interrogated. They both also implicated several other army personnel, which they later claimed had been false allegations made under torture.
Captain Rathaur and Captain Rana were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 14 years each and were dismissed from the army by the Court Martial.
Havaldar Ram Swaroop, who worked under Captain Rathaur, was also picked up for interrogation by the MI in 1978. The Army claims he died of a drug overdose, three days after being taken into custody. However, Indian Express reports that his post-mortem revealed he died of multiple injuries indicative of torture.
The services of several officers were terminated without trial under Section 18 of Army Act, 1950 read with Article 310 of the Indian Constitution.