Website journalist booked under Official Secrets Act, abetment of suicide of jawan


Police in Mahrashtra’s Nashik have booked journalist Poonam Aggarwal under sections of the Official Secrets Act and abetment to suicide under the Indian Penal Code.

A report in Indian Express said that the action by Nashik cops came after the amry lodged an official complaint against the journalist working for The Quint website.

“After studying the application, we have registered a case against Aggarwal under Sections 3 and 7 of the Official Secrets Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code for criminal trespass and abetment to suicide,” the paper quoted a senior officer at the Maharashtra Police headquarters.

“They 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,” the officer said.

The police had recently also recorded the journalist’s statement.

“She has given us a chronology of the events leading to the sting operation and has also shared details of the contacts within the Army who helped her get inside the prohibited area. She has even shared her chats with various jawans whom she had spoken during the course of her story on an app-based messenger service. We have taken a copy of those chats,” the officer said.

Aggarwal, for her part, was quoted as saying, “After my story was published online, I had shared the link with the Army. At that time, they did not 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. The allegation of trespass seems to be an afterthought.”

A 33-year-old jawan, who had reportedly figured in an expose by the news portal on the orderly system in the army, was found dead in Maharashtra’s Deolali. The army had blamed the website for driving him to commit “suicide”.

Roy Mathew, a resident of Ezhukon in Kollam district of Kerala, was missing since February 25 and his decomposed body was found hanging from the ceiling in an abandoned barrack in Deolali cantonment in Nashik yesterday.

The army said it had never questioned Mathew after the video, which showed soldiers, working as Sahayaks, walking dogs of senior army officials or taking their children to school, surfaced.

It said preliminary investigation has revealed that “the suicide may be result of a series of events which were triggered by media personnel managing to video-graph the deceased by asking leading questions on his duties as a buddy without his knowledge.