NEW DELHI: When Colonel Avijit Misra wrote letters to his Brigade HQ on the sensitive Sino-Indian border around nine years ago flagging a bunch of issues plaguing his unit, he thought he was merely performing his duty in the interest of national security.
Little did he realise that his uprightness and honesty were making his seniors in the headquarters uncomfortable.
An officer of 26 Rajputana regiment, Col Misra was fired from service and sent to one year rigorous imprisonment for the crime — blowing the whistle over problems in the unit, while he was posted at the sensitive Zimithang sector, Arunachal Pradesh, on the Sino-Indian border in 2003. After crippling him professionally, tragedy struck him personally as well — his wife divorced him while he was in jail.
But, the soldier in Misra never gave up the fight, nor his boots and uniform. And it paid off.
Finally, in a historic judgment on Tuesday, the Armed Forces Tribunal, Kolkata Bench, ordered that the colonel be reinstated. The principle of natural justice was indeed violated and reasonable opportunity to defend was denied to Misra during the General Court Martial proceeding and the charges for which he has been found guilty and punished, were never proved beyond doubt, the bench remarked.
Speaking to Express over phone from Kolkata, Misra’s lawyer Maitrayee Trivedi Dasgupta said her faith in justice, goodness and mankind has been reaffirmed. “I have fought this case as a cause and it should be seen thus,” she said.
Col Misra’s ordeal started in 2003 when as a commanding officer of the 5th Mountain Division in Zimithang sector he noticed that the sensitive border post had been constantly neglected by the higher authorities.
Col Misra wrote several letters to his Brigade HQ exposing the crumbling defence structure at the Sino-Indian border and poor serviceability of the mechanical transports which was affecting the operational efficiency of the unit.