Mumbai: Army says image tarnished by sting video on ‘sahayak system’

Mumbai: Claiming that the reputation of the Indian Army is at stake, the Army’s Deolali Cantonment has moved the Bombay High Court, seeking to intervene and oppose the plea filed by journalist Poonam Agarwal, who has been booked for abetting the suicide of a soldier.

The Army has claimed its image has been tarnished in the eyes of the common man by the sting video, shot by Agarwal. Agarwal and war veteran Deepchand Singh have been booked by the Nasik Police for conducting a sting operation in the “restricted” Deolali Cantonment area.

The duo has been booked for shooting a video to highlight the prevalent “sahayak system” in the Army. Soon after the video was uploaded on social media in March 2017, the skins solider Lance Naik, Roy Mathew, who was featured in the sting video, committed suicide by hanging himself to a ceiling fan in his room.

Agarwal and Singh have already been granted anticipatory bail and have now sought quashing of the FIR against them by the Nasik Police at the behest of the Army. They have also been booked under the charges of Official Secrets Act. Seeking to intervene in the proceedings, the Army through the station commander of Deolali Cantonment has approached the bench, led by Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari.

In its intervention application, the Army has said by virtue of this sting video, Agarwal has tarnished their image. “The Army had filed the FIR and it is aggrieved by offence committed by Agarwal and Singh. They have tarnished the image of Army in the eyes of the common man,” the plea reads.

To make its case, the Army added, “It is the Army that has lost its Jawan. The morale of the Army has been hit by the offence. It is army whose reputation is at stake.” The Army has accordingly urged the court to allow it to intervene in the matter and oppose the plea filed by Agarwal and Singh to quash FIR against them.

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