Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sikkim to ‘push back’ spy

Gangtok, Aug. 5: Dilip Kumar Roy, a suspected ISI agent and a Bangladeshi national who served a six-year jail term for espionage, will be “pushed back” into his country by the Foreigners Registration Cell of the Special Branch of Sikkim Police.

Soon after Roy had been released from jail on August 3, the special branch took him into custody. Sources said Roy had been sent with Bengal home department officials yesterday and would be pushed back into Bangladesh in two days.

Roy was arrested by the Sikkim police in 2003 for gathering information on the Indian Army activities in Gangtok. He was picked up from near the Black Cat Division main gate at Deorali on the outskirts of Gangtok.

The accused was a former Bangladeshi army man and had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 by the Sessions Court, East and North districts under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, in 2006.

Three months ago, a division bench of Sikkim High Court, headed by Chief Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia, commuted his sentence to six years.

Roy, who was the first person to be convicted of espionage in Sikkim, had earlier also filed an appeal in the high court. Rejecting the plea, the high court observed: “…we are of the considered view that the above finding and conclusion arrived at by the learned trial court warrants no interference by this court.”

When the foreigner was nabbed, various incriminating documents were recovered from his possession. They included a task-slip regarding army deployment and movement, along with a sketch map of the same, a diary with phone numbers and papers containing information about the army’s deployment in Gangtok and Siliguri.

In the second appeal, N. Rai, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that Roy had already spent five years and nine months in prison — more than half the total period of the sentence — and had children back in Bangladesh who were facing financial hardship because he was the main bread-earner of the family.

This was objected to by public prosecutor Karma Tinlay. But the high court, after taking into account the overall circumstances of the case, observed that the interest of justice would be served even if the 10-year imprisonment was remitted to six years.

“He will be handed over to Bangladesh authorities at an undisclosed location on the border in Bengal,” Rai said.