Runaway soldier nabbed by military intel

Runaway soldier nabbed by military intel

R Ravi

Sepoy, R Ravi, a resident of Konanakunte, is hanging between the devil and the deep blue sea. The 37-year-old soldier deserted the defence services to earn money but ended up getting embroiled in a scam and duped of over Rs 70 lakh.

The military intelligence in Bengaluru apprehended the run-away soldier last Friday and confiscated his identity card, pay book and uniforms.

While the Indian army is waiting to initiate court martial proceedings against him for deserting the service without notice, Ravi is running from pillar to post to lodge a civil police complaint to recover his lost money. But the police are unwilling to take up his complaint. Ravi enrolled in the Indian Army as a sepoy driver. After training with 3EME (Electronic and Mechanical Engineering) Centre in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, in 2002, he was posted at an army field workshop in Pooh in Himachal Pradesh. After another transfer, Ravi was posted in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir (an advance base workshop), from where he quit the army.

Ravi, after taking leave, neither reported back to his unit nor informed his reporting officer about his whereabouts.

The army officials at Udhampur unit and military intelligence officials in Bengaluru were concerned about the runaway soldier as he lost contact even with his close friends and colleagues whom he trained with. The only thing that the army knew with regard to him was that he was in Bengaluru.

“Runaway soldiers are seen as potential threats by military intelligence. Ravi had not surrendered his identity card or uniforms by which he can get access any of the cantonments in the country,” said a senior army official. “There are chances that anti-nationals could use people like Ravi to collect information or photographs of any army unit anywhere in the country,” the official added.

After an apprehension order from the military headquarters, intelligence officials traced Ravi and he was under surveillance. The officials wanted to ensure that Ravi did not misuse his identity card and army attire. They wanted him to surrender the belongings before apprehending and producing him before the army authorities, who could soon initiate court martial proceedings against him for his long uninformed absence.

Scam trap

When Ravi was on the army’s radar, officials discovered that he had invested over Rs 70 lakh (property share and gold collateral) into a ‘rice-puller’ scam. Ravi was cheated by his own friend, Shiva Shankar, who claimed to be thesecretary of an international human rights association. Shankar and his accomplices convinced Ravi to invest into a business where a person is in possession of a rare material, Iridium Copper, which has ‘rice-pulling qualities’.

The fraudsters also convinced Ravi that the DRDO would buy this material from them for crores of rupees for research. Ravi fell into the trap of two such gangs, which duped him of Rs 70 lakh on different occasions in Kolar, Tumakuru, Palghat and other places since 2010 until recent times.

Ravi has even written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stating that the police are not entertaining his complaint.