I am not asking for any favours, but a mere proper holding of a Board of Inquiry for finding the truth in the interest of justice. I pray and hope that my voice will not go unheard this time—Anuradha A. Paldhe
A widow on Monday sought Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's intervention for justice and to know the truth behind her son's mystery death 23 years ago when he was working in the Indian Navy.
The widow, Anuradha A. Paldhe, mother of the late Amar A. Paldhe, also cited a recent Hyderabad High Court order for constituting a fresh Board of Inquiry by the Indian Navy into the incident which occurred during helo-jumping at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, in September 1993.
A resident of Dombivali town in Thane, the 25-year old Paldhe was a Seaman-I (clearance diver) at that time, she told the media here.
In a letter to Parrikar, Paldhe said she has been fighting a protracted battle for 23 years to unravel the truth behind Amar's death.
"I am not asking for any favours, but a mere proper holding of a Board of Inquiry for finding the truth in the interest of justice. I pray and hope that my voice will not go unheard this time," Paldhe pleaded in her letter.
A few days ago, delivering its verdict in favour of Paldhe, the Hyderabad High Court directed the Indian Navy to constitute a fresh Board of Inquiry within six months and communicate its findings to her.
Amar was an expert naval diver. On September 21, 1993, his family was told that he had gone "missing" while participating in the peace-time operation at Kakinada.
The following day, his body was found by some fishermen on the Kakinada coast.
Though the Indian Navy extended normal courtesies to the family, they did not disclose the real cause of Amar's death and evaded all queries under the guise of confidentiality of defence services, Paldhe said.
However, the parents learnt about the existence of two serious ante-mortem injuries on Amar's body and attempted to find out the causes behind it, but failed.
After more unsuccessful attempts, the family finally moved the Hyderabad High Court in 1997.
In April 2013, dismissing an appeal by the Indian Navy, the Hyderabad High Court said: "The cumulative effect of all these acts and omissions is that the death of the son of the plaintiffs occurred under suspicious and mysterious circumstances."
Earlier, Paldhe and her husband carried on the struggle for justice together, but he died a few years ago.
Now, she is apprehensive that the defence authorities may not heed her lone voice and her demand to know the truth about her son's unexplained death.