SRINAGAR: The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has upheld the conviction of a soldier and the sentence of dismissal from service and life imprisonment by a summary general court martial (SGCM) for allegedly shooting dead his colleague while on duty, reported The Tribune.
The incident occurred in December 2012 in an infantry unit deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. The deceased was on sentry duty during the evening hours when he was shot by the appellant-convict, who is presently serving the sentence.
In his petition before the AFT, the appellant-convict argued that the case relies on circumstantial evidence, and the chain of events is incomplete. He claimed that the motive couldn’t be established and suggested that another individual, who had relieved the deceased shortly before the incident, could be responsible for the crime.
“We are satisfied that the chain of events is complete, and no one other than the appellant-convict could have committed the crime,” stated the Tribunal’s bench, which comprises Justice Sudhir Mittal and Lt Gen Ravindra Pal Singh, on November 6, after scrutinizing the facts.
“In this case, in addition to the fact that they were last seen together, there are other unquestionable factors that establish the guilt of the appellant-convict. Even the motive has been proven,” the Bench affirmed, as per The Tribune.
The Bench observed that the appellant-convict was last seen with the deceased, and some of his contentions contradicted what any sensible person would have done given the circumstances, especially when he claimed that his knee problem affected his movement. The Bench noted that this clearly indicated a plan was in progress.
The Bench stated that the appellant-convict had concocted a story about being present near the guard-post where the incident occurred when he should have been at another post. Furthermore, he attempted to mislead other soldiers regarding the direction from which the gunshots were heard.
“All these facts and circumstances point towards a guilty mind. It is evident that the appellant-convict fabricated a story, and the established facts and conduct clearly demonstrate that the appellant-convict had the opportunity and means to commit murder,” said the Bench.