The services of Mainpuri native SS Chauhan, who was a second lieutenant in Indian Army’s Sixth Rajput Battalion and court-martialled in 1991, were restored by The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).
The AFT also restored Chauhan’s seniority and ordered the ministry of defence to pay Rs 4 core to Chauhan and deposit Rs 1 crore with the Army Central Welfare Fund within a period of four months.
Chauhan was stationed in Srinagar when he was court-martialled on various charges. He was also declared a deserter and mentally unstable.
After hearing the matter, AFT’s Justice DP Singh and Air Marshal Anil Chopra, quashed Chauhan’s court-martial and directed the defence ministry to give him promotional avenues up to the stage of Lieutenant Colonel for the purpose of arrears of salary pension benefits and rank.
The order for Chauhan’s sacking was approved by the then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Srinagar.
The AFT observed that Chauhan was purposely implicated by his seniors who wanted to conceal the gold that the young officer had recovered from a search operation.
While conducting a search operation during the peak days of militancy in Srinagar, on April 11, 1990, Chauhan recovered 147 gold biscuits weighing around 27.5kg. Chauhan had petitioned that he had recovered it in the presence of other soldiers and were handed over to the then Colonel KRS Pawar and then Lt General Zaki Mohammad Ahmad.
Reports suggest that the Commanding Officer, Colonel KRS Panwar had allegedly put pressure on Chauhan not to mention the gold in the documents.
The officer had taken the matter to Parliament’s Committee of Petitions. The Army headquarters ordered a separate inquiry.
In 1991, the court martial cut short Chauhan’s career sentencing him to seven-year jail on charges of being a deserter and mentally unstable.