Questioning the recent arrest of a 75-year-old veteran by Gurgaon Police in a cheating case, a group of protesting ex-servicemen today vowed to continue their campaign on ‘One Rank one Pension’ scheme and said they will not be cowed down by the “vendetta action”. “This case has nothing to do with OROP.

It relates to a complaint first made in 2013 which has been rejected twice by the police and once by the Gurgaon Sessions Court. “Now again it has cropped up and the Gurgaon Police arrested a veteran,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), spokesperson of Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM), said.

Wing Commander C K Sharma (Retd) was arrested on March 10 after being booked under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC. The allegations are that he along with others was involved in financial bungling in the accounts of IESM, which was spearheading the agitation for ‘One Rank One Pension’.

“This is nothing but vendetta against us.However, we will continue our fight for OROP,” Kaul said. Sharma’s daughter Nisha is upset that her father was picked up late at night and forcibly taken to the police station “like a criminal”. “I fail to understand what the need was to arrest him when previously the complaint has been rejected,” she has said.

An FIR was registered against Sharma on the directions of the magistrate following a complaint by Lt Gen Raj Kadiyan (Retd), the former chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), who had alleged that the officer siphoned off Rs 14 lakh from the accounts of the organisation. Police had registered a case against three persons on February 8 after Kadiyan in a complaint alleged that “they had taken a lot of cash from the society funds between January and July 2013”.

The three are Sharma, Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh and Group Capt (retd) V K Gandhi. The trio are the office bearers of IESM, which was formed in 2008 and has been at the forefront of the protests by the ex-servicemen for OROP.

Last September, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had announced that OROP will be implemented from July 2014, fulfilling a four-decade demand of the armed forces. The first tranche of the OROP payment is likely to be made this month.

However, a section of the veterans, led by the trio, have been continuing the protest demanding equalisation of pension every year as against every five years proposed by the government. However, the movement has lost active support from a large section of retired soldiers after last September’s announcement. 

Feature image source: Twitter