AFT grants interim bail twice to Army Captain before suspending his life sentence

Srinagar, Nov 15 (Representative) Prior to suspending life sentence and granting conditional bail to Army Captain Bhoopendra Singh by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) last week, after he was found guilty of killing three men in a “staged” encounter in South Kashmir in July 2020, the former was granted interim bail twice earlier during the tribunal proceedings. The AFT granted him interim bail in February this year and in October, 2022. The Army Captain, through his advocate, had pleaded for an interim bail for a period of six weeks on the ground of “illness and hospitalization” of his mother and wife. A two-bench Armed Forces Tribunal in its order on February 15 said, ” considering the matter in its totality and the fact that the bail is sought on medical condition of family members, we direct that the appellant shall be released on bail for a period of six weeks from the date of his release.”

The bench also said that it was brought to their notice that an order dated October 21, 2022 “during the pendency of the proceedings of the Court Martial granting him interim bail for a period of ten days.” “It is further submitted by learned counsel for the appellant that the appellant had surrendered to the competent Authority immediately after the period of interim bail was over and did not misuse the privilege granted to him earlier,” it said. On November 9, the AFT suspended Captain’s life sentence and also granted conditional bail. The tribunal, however, didn’t stay his conviction. Two former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti questioned the conditional bail granted to an Army officer.

In July 2020, Army said three Pakistani militants were killed at Amshipora in Shopian district. Days later, the locals alleged that the three slain men killed were cousins from Rajouri district who were working as labourers. The DNA samples of three killed confirmed that the slain trio were from Rajouri. The deceased were identified as Imtiyaz Ahmed , 20; Abrar Ahmed, 25; and Mohammed Ibrar, 16.Captain Bhoopendra Singh was subjected to the GCM proceedings after a Court of Inquiry and Summary of Evidence found that the powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) had been used in “excess”. In September, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha handed over appointment letters for government jobs to the family members of three civilians killed in a fake encounter.