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Scribe gets relief in suicide abetment case of Army jawan

By Anuj Cariappa

Mumbai, Apr 19: The Bombay High Court quashed a case lodged against a senior journalist and a retired soldier for allegedly abetting the suicide of an Army jawan and carrying out a sting operation in a prohibited area.

Scribe gets relief in suicide abetment case of Army jawan

While quashing the case, a division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre observed that accused journalist Poonam Agarwal had not done anything that affected the national interest.

The court also noted that the Army was being "vindictive" in the present case.

On March 27, 2017, the Deolali Camp police in Nashik registered a case against Agarwal and Deepchand Singh, a retired soldier and war veteran, under various IPC sections for abetment of suicide of jawan Roy Mathew and trespassing, and also under provisions of the Official Secrets Act for allegedly carrying out a sting operation in a prohibited area.

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The case was registered after Mathew, a sahayak with the Army, allegedly committed suicide on February 7, 2017.

According to police, Mathew featured in the sting operation carried out by Agarwal and Singh, exposing the sahayak system in the Army, and that he allegedly committed suicide out of fear and shame.

Agarwal and Singh had later approached the high court seeking to quash the case against them.

Army's counsel Sandesh Patil argued that the accused entered a prohibited area and made videos.

"Our contention is that the accused were spying," Patil said.

The bench, however, refused to accept the contention.

"Spying has a different meaning. We do not find anything in this case that says the accused persons did something that affected the national interest," Justice Dangre said.

"She (Agarwal) did not have any intention to go and commit an offence. We do not understand why you (Army) are so vindictive," Justice More said.

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