Pathribal encounter: Court martial begins

Twelve years after the killing of five civilians in the 2000 Pathribal fake encounter, the Army has started trial of its five officers at a general court martial in Jammu.

The decision to shift the venue of the court martial from Srinagar to Jammu was taken as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 15 Corps had contested the case of the accused officers up to the Supreme Court, said a Defence Ministry spokesperson at the Udhampur-based Northern Command Headquarters, Lt Colonel Rajesh Kalia. "Therefore, it was just and proper, as also fair to the victims' families that disciplinary proceedings be conducted by another Army commander,'' he said.

He further added that all the five accused officers were attached with the 16 Corps Headquarters in Nagrota.

The five officers named accused in the case and against whom the CBI had filed chargesheet in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar in 2006 are Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt Colonel Brajendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan.

The GOC 16 Corps, Lt General A S Nandal, in his capacity as Commanding Officer heard the charges leveled by CBI against the accused on Thursday and directed the summary of evidence to be recorded against them.

The GOC, during the general court martial proceedings, heard the evidence by Ashok Kalra, who is the CBI Inspector who investigated the case.

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