Nashik Police booked The Quint's journalist Poonam Aggarwal in connection with Lance Naik Roy Mathew's alleged suicide following the release of a sting video. According to Indian Express, Aggarwal has been charged with criminal trespass and abetment to suicide under sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and those relating to the Indian Penal Code. The Quint journalist had shot the sting video in which Mathew had spoken on the Sahayak system in the Indian Army.
Indian Express reported that the army had submitted an application to Nashik Police, complaining against the journalist for illegally entering a prohibited area and also accused her of posing ‘leading questions’ to Mathew while carrying out the sting operation.
They (Indian Army) have given an application expressing concern over the journalist entering a prohibited area with a spy camera and filming an Army premises, which is not allowed. After studying the application, a case has been registered," a Maharashtra Police officer told The Indian Express. The report also said that the police spoke to Aggarwal and recorded her statement.
Roy Mathew, 33, who had been reported missing since 25 February and was found dead on 3 March. His decomposed body was discovered hanging from the ceiling of an abandoned barrack in Deolali Cantonment, Nashik. Police had recovered a diary from the abandoned barrack where Mathew's body was found. A note in Malayalam described the circumstances that made him take his life. In the note, Mathew feared he would have to face a court-martial for allegedly speaking out against the Army.
A report in Hindustan Times said that Mathew's family members suspected foul play in his death and had demanded a probe into his demise.
Meanwhile, Aggarwal told The Indian Express that the allegation of trespass the prohibited area seemed to be an afterthought. She said: “After my story was published online, I had shared the link with the Army. At that time, they did not raise any question about me entering a prohibited area. Instead, they told me they will probe the allegations made by the jawan in the sting operation.” She claimed that Mathew committed suicide because of an internal inquiry carried out by the Army.
In the video, Mathew had reportedly said that higher officials allegedly mistreated their ‘sahayaks’, and forced them to do petty jobs like polishing shoes, washing clothes and taking their pet dogs for walks. The alleged sting video, captured by hidden cameras with faces masked, had gone viral on social media networks, as he raised questions on the ‘Sahayak System’.
Two more soldiers — Sepoy Sindhav Jogidas Lakhubhai of the Army Medical Corps, and Lance Naik Yagya Pratap — have earlier taken to the social media to attack the Sahayak system. The army had said both of them were never assigned any Sahayak duties.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Mar 28, 2017 16:10 PM