JORHAT, April 12 - The Gauhati High Court, while recently delivering a judgement in a case relating to alleged Army excesses committed during a search operation in a house of a civilian in Jorhat in 2011, has directed the Ministry of Defence and the Central government to pay Rs 1 lakh to Surajit Gogoi alias Puna Gogoi within six weeks from the date of receiving the copy of the judgement by the petitioner.
The ruling was given by a two-bench judge comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Nelson Sailo on February 1, 2018.
Gogoi, the petitioner and a resident of Rowriah here, through a writ petition (WP (C) 2053/2012) filed in the Gauhati High Court, had sought compensation for forceful entry into his house on the night of December 20-21, 2011 at about 1 am by the Indian Army troops (Central Intelligence Surveillance Unit) based in Nagaland and looting cash, valuables, cell phones, laptop, hard disk, a licence of Gogoi, his passport and a licensed pistol, among other things.
The respondents in the case were the Union of India and others, represented by the Secretary, Defence, New Delhi, the Major General, GOC, 3 Corps, 99 APO, Rangapahar Military Station, Dimapur, Nagaland, Colonel G Srikumar, 3 Corps, Central Intelligence Surveillance Unit (CISU), Dimapur and the Superintendent of Police, Jorhat.
It may be mentioned here that former Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh Suhag was the GOC of the Dimapur-based 3 Corps at the time of occurrence of the incident
Addressing the media here on Monday, Gogoi and his advocate Sudipta Nayan Goswami said the court had further directed that Gogoi should approach the civil court within a period of four months from the date of passing the judgement for claiming compensation against the “robbed items”.
Gogoi claimed that gold jewellery worth Rs 6.50 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh cash which were taken by the Army after breaking open an almirah could not be verified by the Gauhati High Court.
The .32 pistol without the live bullets were returned to him along with a few other items later.
Advocate Goswami said the Army, when it was taken to task for violating the laws, especially of ASFPA, gave the excuse that they were on the lookout of a terrorist.
The incident which shook Jorhat and was initially reported as a robbery committed by camouflaged men posing as Army personnel.
The operations carried out by Captain Rubina Kaur Keer with 14 other Army men under her came to light a few days later when one of the stolen cell phones was shown to be active in Himachal Pradesh and traced to Havildar Sandeep Thapa of the CISU Corps stationed at Dimapur.
The Army conducted a court martial in which only Thapa was dismissed and four others including Rubina Kaur Keer received punishment, but was not revealed by the Army. The other nine were let off.