New Delhi: The Central Government justified the termination of three officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for gross negligence and informed the Delhi High Court that the accidental firing of a BrahMos combat missile into Pakistan last year affected the relationship with its neighboring country along with a loss of Rs 24 crore to the state exchequer.
In a short affidavit, the Centre opposed a petition filed by Wing Commander Abhinav Sharma against his termination from service. It stated that the trial of three IAF officers by a court martial was “inexpedient”, given the sensitive nature of the evidence on record and also the fact that the international community was interested to know the important practical details regarding the firing of the missile.
“Considering the sensitive nature of the subject matter having widespread ramifications for the security of the State, a conscious and considered decision was taken in good faith to terminate the service of the petitioner under the President’s pleasure clause. Such a decision has been taken in the Indian Air Force after 23 years as facts and circumstances of the case warranted such action,” the government said.
Three officers of the Indian Air Force were sacked in August last year for the March 9 accidental firing of a BrahMos missile that landed in Pakistan.
An official statement said the services of the officers were terminated after a Court of Inquiry (CoI) found that deviation from the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) by them led to the accidental firing of the missile, as per a media report.
It must be noted that the petitioner challenged the termination order issued against him under Section 18 of the Air Force Act, 1950. He was posted as an engineering officer at the time the incident took place.
Defending the decision, the Central Government said that the decision was actuated by public interest without any kind of mala-fide. The Centre also said that the petitioner was accorded all due opportunities during the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry to present his case and he was given great latitude in this regard.