Pathribal: Army Issues Fresh Summons

KL Report

October 11, 2012

Army on Thursday issued fresh summons to eye-witnesses in the Pathribal fake encounter case even as the relatives of the affected families and civilian witnesses did not turn up on the last two hearings.The case is being adjudged by a Court Martial now and the Army has already shifted records from the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar to the Court Martial in Nagrota.

“The Army has once again issued summons through CJM Islamabad to the civilian witnesses, including the relatives of the five persons killed in Pathribal encounter, this time giving sufficient time for them to appear”, PRO, Ministry of Defence (MoD), Army’s Northern Command Lt Col Rajesh Kalia said in Jammu. “The concerned J&K police personnel have also been sent summons to appear as witness before the officer recording Summary of Evidence”.

The court-martial is trying five officers and unknown number of soldiers that were identified by the CBI and held responsible for the fake encounter in which five civilians were roasted alive in March 2000.

 The Army spokesperson said it is for fair play and equity that the proceedings are being held outside the jurisdiction of 15 Corps and exhorted the witnesses to appear and give evidence.

Army had issued summons to eye-witnesses and relatives to depose before the Court Martial from September 20 after the proceedings were initiated against the accused Army Officers. Nagrota falls under the command of 16 Corps that is based at Nagrota. However, nobody turned up from civilian eye witnesses and relatives.

Consequent to the Supreme Court’s Order, the Army had taken over the case from Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar and thereafter attached these officers to its Nagrota based 16 Corps.

On September 20, Lt Gen AS Nandal, GOC 16 Corps in the capacity of Commanding Officer heard the charges preferred by the CBI against the accused officers and directed Summary of Evidence to be recorded against them.

During the hearing, Lt Gen AS Nandal heard the evidence led by Ashok Kalra, the CBI Inspector, who had investigated the case, he said adding that he also produced challan which had been filed by the CBI before CBI Court.

In June this year, the Army decided to try in General Court Martial (GCM) its five officers allegedly involved in Pathribal fake encounter killing of five innocent men in Islamabad district of Kashmir in March 2000. Army moved an application before CJM Srinagar, the designated CBI court, seeking transfer of the Pathribal fake encounter case to the General Court Martial.

Recently, some lawmakers expressed concern over the issue and suggested the Court Martial be located close to the residences of the witnesses. Interestingly, some of the witnesses who were summoned by the Court Martial have already died.

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