The internal campaign within the Army against Technical Services Division (TSD) intelligence operatives is still on, with the court-martial proceedings against its chief Colonel Hunny Bakshi expected to be initiated soon.
Bakshi has been on “punishment posting” in the inconsequential Bangalore sub-area of the Army since December 2012.
The case relates to the arrest of TSD’s head clerk Shivadasan on April 2012 in Kochi, when he was receiving a part payment in return for allegedly providing classified information to the ISI.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which laid the trap to nab Shivadasan, claimed that the accused had demanded `1 crore from his ISI handler for sharing information on troop deployments and sought an advance of `60 lakh. Sivadasan had allegedly set up the meeting with his ISI contact in Kochi and sleuths from the DRI “trapped” the head clerk when he was about to hand over a compact disk, pen drive and documents containing sensitive information to his contact.
Though the arrest happened when General V K Singh, under whose tenure the TSD was set up in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, was the Army chief, the case gained traction only after his retirement in May 2012. In June 2012, a few days after Gen Bikram Singh succeeded V K Singh, details of the “trap” was leaked to the media.
The TSD had initially said Shivadasan was only a bait to get to the ISI operatives working against India through contacts in Dubai and it was part of a larger counter-espionage game plan.
In November 2012, the DRI handed over its case to the Army, which ordered a Court of Inquiry into the DRI “trap”. Apart from Sivadasan, the inquiry also examined Bakshi and his role in the episode. Following the inquiry, the Army also carried out Summary of Evidence, the process for preparing a chargesheet, in the case.
The Army transferred Sivadasan’s custody to a unit headed by present Army vice-chief Dalbir Singh’s younger brother Col Dharmbir Singh. He is now awaiting court-martial, in which Bakshi too might be tried, sources said. This move comes after Sivadasan’s detention for over 20 months without even a chargesheet. It was only after he moved the Armed Forces Tribunal for bail that the Army filed a tentative chargesheet against him, sources said.
Meanwhile, Bakshi had on January 8, 2014, put in his application for premature retirement. But just three weeks later, he withdrew the application and decided to continue in service after his seniors communicated that he would face “disciplinary action” in the case.