A Major in the Indian Army who was working in a Strategic Forces Command (SFC) unit has been fired by President Draupadi Murmu because he was involved in several security breaches, as found by an Army investigation.
Following the IE report, the President used his authority under Section 18 of the Army Act, 1950, and Article 310 of the constitution to order the Major’s permanent discharge.
These orders were given on September 15 and then made official earlier this month at the Strategic Forces Command Unit in North India, where the Major was stationed.
An review into the Major’s actions by the Army began in March 2022, when a Board of Officers was set up to look into claims that the officer had compromised national security.
The Strategic Forces Command gave this Board of Officers the power to seize digital devices and start an investigation into the Major’s possible involvement in questionable activities, including breaking the rules on social media, security issues, sharing or leaking classified information to people who aren’t supposed to have it, questionable financial transactions, and possible spying.
It was also told to look into all parts of counterintelligence and other important areas that needed close attention.
Several sources say that the investigation showed that the Major had kept copies of secret papers on his electronic devices, which is against Army rules.
In addition, the Major had been chatting on social media with a Pakistani intelligence officer, which was against the rules of security.
The Major’s ties to other top army officers were also being looked into. Some of these officers were in a WhatsApp chat group called “Patiala Peg.” He was said to have been asked to testify against several soldiers who were connected to this group in the Court of Inquiry.
In the meantime, the Army is said to have given a Brigadier and a Lieutenant Colonel a “show cause” warning for administrative and disciplinary action because they broke social media rules and were members of a WhatsApp group where offensive content was shared.
In July 2022, the Army was looking into four officers for their roles in the “Patiala Peg” WhatsApp group.
Four of these officers were put on leave while the probe was going on. Two of them worked in the Military Intelligence (MI) Directorate at Army Headquarters in New Delhi. The fourth officer was based in Mumbai, and the third officer was an instructor at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington.
There were rumors that a Pakistani Intelligence Operative (PIO) had broken into the WhatsApp group “Patiala Peg,” which these soldiers were a part of.
Someone started an investigation to find out if the group members had shared any secret military knowledge.
When the Directorate General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) told the Army to take these four officers’ cell phones and other personal digital assets in March 2022, they did so.