BSF trooper in Jammu, not missing, his wife told (Roundup)

New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The BSF on Friday allowed the wife of a trooper, who was allegedly missing after he complained about “substandard food” in a social media video clip, to meet him after an intervention from the Delhi High Court.

The government informed the court that Tej Bahadur Yadav was not under arrest but was shifted to another battalion in Samba near Jammu after a division bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Vinod Goel directed the BSF to let his wife meet him and also to stay overnight for two days.

Yadav’s wife Sharmila had filed a habeus corpus petition seeking her husband’s whereabouts or his presence in a court if he was arrested. Sharmila told court she and other family members had failed to contact the Border Security Force trooper for three days.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain appearing for the BSF told the court that Yadav was “not missing”.

“The wife’s apprehension was baseless and unfounded as she was in regular contact with him over the phone till February 7. We completely deny the allegation that Yadav is missing,” the solicitor told the court.

“He has been transferred to another battalion. Family is aware of this. He has been allowed to talk to his family. He was not under arrest or under confinement. He has not been put to any harassment,” he added.

The court directed the BSF to let Yadav’s wife meet him over the weekend in Samba. It posted the matter for February 15 when it is expected that the court will take up the woman’s plea for a high-level inquiry into Yadav’s disappearance and the rejection of his application for voluntary retirement.

The BSF rejected Yadav’s plea for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) because a Court of Inquiry (CoI) was pending against him.

Advocate Manish Tiwari appearing for Yadav’s wife told the court that the family had no information about his whereabouts and she last spoke to him on February 7 when the trooper told her that he was being taken to an unknown location.

“His family has been calling him on his mobile number but it goes unanswered. When they contact his official phone number, nobody tells us about his location or they keep the call on hold,” said the wife’s lawyer.

The solicitor said the BSF took Yadav’s personal mobile phone, and gave him a new phone with another SIM card.

He said his personal mobile, which Yadav used to upload the videos of “poor quality of food”, was being scanned for a probe.

Yadav’s wife said the family also sent two letters to BSF Director General K.K. Sharma to find out about Yadav’s whereabouts but got no response.

The family earlier alleged that the trooper was being “threatened and tortured mentally”.

In January, Yadav posted a video clip on social media complaining about the quality of food served to BSF personnel and accused unnamed officers of illegally selling food supplies meant for troopers.

The video clip showed a meal box comprising a watery soup-like dal that he said had only turmeric and salt in it and a burnt chapatti.

Yadav alleged that it was the kind of meals troopers on duty at difference places, including the borders, were served and that paramilitary personnel often went to bed empty stomach.

The Prime Minister’s Office had sought a detailed factual report on the video from the Home Ministry and the BSF.

The trooper faces an inquiry on various charges, including indiscipline. His plea for voluntary retirement was rejected by the authorities.