The Supreme Court on September 25 allowed a retired Indian Army officer to withdraw his appeal to quash a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case accusing him of outing secret information about India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), in his book released 16 years ago.
A Bench headed by Justice B.R. Gavai said it would not entertain the plea by Major General V.K. Singh, represented by senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani and advocate Tomy Chacko, and advised him to approach the trial court seeking discharge from the 2007 case under the Official Secrets Act of 1923.
The petitioner argued that the High Court had declined relief to the 78-year-old author and former soldier “without appreciating that the materials placed on record do not reveal any ‘secret’ information other than those already available online or in the public domain”.
The Bench clarified in its decision that the trial court would decide Mr. Singh’s application for discharge without being influenced by the observations made in the High Court order.
Trouble began for Mr. Singh soon after the launch of his book India’s External Intelligence - Secrets of the Research and Analysis Wing in June 2007. The petitioner claimed that the work brought to light several lacunae in the functioning of the R&AW.
In September 2007, a complaint was filed with the CBI for legal action against Mr. Singh under the 1923 Act.