While the Delhi High Court today extended the stay on the trial by general court martial (GCM) of Maj Gen Anil Sarup, who is facing trial for alleged irregularities in procurement of equipment for troops proceeding on a UN peacekeeping mission, till May 21, the officer has moved a fresh application contending that he is being “illegally” kept in military custody since being placed under arrest in August 2009.
A high court Division Bench had, on March 13, directed the Army not to proceed with the GCM till further orders. The GCM had assembled at Jalandhar in March but has since remained adjourned. Sarup, who has now retired, has contended before the HC that he has been kept under arrest at Yol Cantonment in Himachal in violation of law as Army Rule 27 states an accused can’t be detained beyond three months unless sanction of the competent authority has been obtained. After retirement in 2009, he was asked to report at Yol for disciplinary proceedings and has since been in custody.
In March, he was moved to Jalandhar for the trial. Pursuant to HC orders, he was granted “leave” by the army for a few days for dealing with his HC case, but according to his counsel Col SK Aggarwal (retd), this is not release from custody and he now continues to be under open arrest for the duration of his leave. A reply by Army on contentions by Sarup in his petition and his rejoinder to the reply were taken up by the bench today. Sarup had contended that Army Rule 180 was not complied with during the disciplinary proceedings, thereby not giving him full opportunity to defend itself. He has claimed proceedings initiated against him were a result of professional rivalry for promotion to rank of lieutenant general and there were no irregularities in procurement. The Army has denied his contentions. Maj-Gen Anil Sarup of the Army Ordnance Corps is facing five charges under Section 52 and 63 of the Army Act.
-via The Tribune