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From Frame-Up To Goof-Up

From Frame-Up To Goof-Up
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
Last fortnight, the Union government and ministry of home affairs suffered one of its biggest embarrassments when a sessions court released journalist Iftikhar Gilani, son-in-law of jailed Hurriyat leader S.A.H. Geelani. Iftikhar had been arrested seven months ago for allegedly possessing sensitive documents relating to Indian troop deployment in Jammu and Kashmir. In a chargesheet filed in September under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), Iftikhar was charged with criminal conspiracy and—strangely—pornography. In a strange turn of events, the ministry of home affairs, in this case the prosecution, withdrew the case without assigning any reason why Iftikhar was imprisoned for nearly seven months.

Any chance that the home ministry would have had to pursue the case was nipped when the director-general of military intelligence (DGMI), Lt Gen O.S. Lochab, told the court that the documents possessed by Iftikhar were not sensitive. The dgmi’s submission did not go down well with the home ministry, which even questioned his ability to judge the issue (though the documents are readily available at defence institutes and on the web). Finally, the ministry had to give in. Says V.K. Ohri, Iftikhar’s lawyer: "The charges are all false and we will move the court for compensation." He did not speculate on what the amount would be. The last time someone got a compensation for harassment and torture under the OSA was scientist Nambi Narayanan, accused of being involved in the ISRO espionage case.

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