NEW DELHI: Colonel Avijit Misra, an officer of 26 Rajputana regiment, in 2003 wrote several letters to his Brigade headquarters on the sensitive Indo-China border, flagging many issues plaguing his unit. For his action, he was fired from service and sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment. But the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Kolkata Bench, on Tuesday ordered that the colonel be reinstated.
In his letters, Col Misra had opposed the Brigade’s decision to put more soldiers on guard duty at the Brigade HQ instead of strengthening the operational reserve for border vigil at the forward posts. Misra in his letters to senior officials criticised the supply of inferior quality ration to soldiers posted in hostile terrain and more so exposed the move of the Brigade HQ for cutting the quantity of ration for the troops.
What followed were several complaints against Col Misra in November 2004 by Subedar Major Vijay Pal Singh of the same unit, allegedly at the behest of Brigade HQ officials. Vijay Pal Singh in his complaint alleged that Col Misra was ill-treating soldiers, drawing excess government ration by falsely showing inflated troop strength and siphoning off service and supply funds to the tune of `8 lakh.
A preliminary inquiry was conducted on December 12, 2004, against Col Misra and Major M Nagarajan of the same unit. Subsequently, a staff Court of Inquiry was ordered. The report of the inquiry was submitted in April 2005.
Surprisingly, Major Nagarajan was let off without any punishment. Finally, a General Court Martial (GCM) was ordered to be held against Col Misra and a convening order was issued on November 24, 2005. He was placed under arrest on December 2, 2006. The GCM report was submitted holding him guilty on eight charges and subsequently he was punished with cashiering from service and one year rigorous imprisonment. The punishment was confirmed by the competent authority on August 25, 2006.
Col Misra had told the AFT that the higher authorities were prejudiced against him because he brought up so many anomalies and deficiencies with regard to operational and administrative aspects of the battalion.