Navy man held in psychiatry ward for exposing corruption

A Navy sailor’s wife has alleged that that her husband was wrongly diagnosed with psychiatric problems and forcefully admitted in the psychiatric ward at the naval hospital Sanjivini in Kochi as he had levelled corruption charges against his seniors at INS Kattabomman naval base in Tirunelveli.

“My husband, Sunil Kumar Sahu, who is a SWA-3 rank officer at naval base INS Kattabomman, had complained about corruption and dishonesty of officers here. He had informed the same to the commanding officer at INS Kattabomman, who is also the chief vigilance officer. However, soon after he raised the issue, he was threatened by the seniors and asked to keep quiet,” said Arthi, a native of Odisha. She alleged that after he again wrote a letter on October 20 raising corruption charges against senior officials, the commanding officer called him to his cabin and threatened him. “He told him that he will fill form 10 and get my husband declared as a psychiatric patient. After the threat, I decided to lodge a police complaint and even went to Vijayanarayanam police station (in Tiruneveli district) on October 21 to lodge a complaint but was asked to come in the evening as the station in-charge was not there,” said Arthi. However, before she could lodge a complaint, Arthi alleged that her husband was arrested for threatening his senior officer.

“I was then informed that they have issued an order to send him to hospital in Kochi for psychiatric treatment and he was shifted here on October 23. He is wrongly trapped here as he dared to fight against corruption committed by his seniors,” Arthi said. She came along with her husband to Kochi but is allowed to meet him for only a few hours daily.

“The sailor is posted at INS Kattabomman which comes under the Eastern Naval Command headquartered at Visakhapatnam. The details of the case can be known only from the naval officials at Visakhapatnam. He was brought here for some medical examination. The nature of his ailment and his condition can’t be shared,” said a Navy spokesperson in Kochi. When contacted, Vijayanarayanam police inspector Paulraj said, “On receiving the compliant from the woman (Arthi), we rushed to the naval office at Vijayanarayanam. But, we were not allowed inside the campus. Their officials spoke only to Cheranmahadevi (in Tirunelveli district) sub-collector. The naval officer told the sub-collector that action has been initiated against the complainant’s husband under the Navy Act. Thereafter, we closed the complaint because the Tamil Nadu police could do nothing more.”

“My husband graduated in science and served in the Indian Navy for 10 years. He was transferred to Tirunelveli in October last year from Karwar naval base INS Kadamba in Karnataka as he tried to expose corruption,” said Arthi. She said her husband obtained information through RTI about the purchase of television sets and forwarded it to higher officials in Visakhapatnam.

The RTI followed an allegation that a private firm had given television sets to the naval base free of cost, but they were shown as having been purchased. This resulted in her husband facing detention and torture, she alleged.