Army Probing Mysterious Death Of Lt Col in Fire

SRINAGAR - The Army was probing the mysterious death of a senior officer whose charred body was seen in an operational shelter in a camp near Bandipora town amidst indications that the fire could have been an insider’s job.

Officially, the Army had said that the fire was created by a short circuit and investigations were on into it but other sources said it could have been caused by an act of sabotage by some within the 5 Para Regiment in which Lt Col Sarang Apte was acting as the second-in-command.

The body of Apte, a decorated officer who took part in the Kargil War, with 100 per cent burns, was found in a camp after a fire broke out in several huts during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

Sources said preliminary investigation of an internal inquiry ordered into the incident pointed towards a possible involvement of some within the unit who might have triggered the fire to settle personal scores with Apte.

The investigators started working on sabotage theory as it was highly unlikely that the fire, if caused by electric short circuit, would have spread to other huts as these were located at a fair distance from the hut in which Apte was sleeping, the sources said.

, the shootout in which Maj Maninderpal Singh and a 70-year-old civilian were injured in Pattan area of Baramulla district yesterday, could also leave the Army red faced.

The sources said the officer was probably lured by two youth to an orchard, the reason for which remained a mystery.

The Major reportedly entered into a heated argument with the two youth, one of whom seized the officer’s revolver and shot him, sources said.

While one of them, Javed Ahmad, was nabbed by security forces within hours of the incident, the other youth, Firdaus Ahmad, who is having the officer’s pistol, is still at large, the sources said. The Army has so far remained tightlipped about the incident.

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