Samba spy scandal

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The Samba Military Spy Scandal[1][2] was a cold war military intelligence program which eventually emerged as a scandal in 1979. According to the Indian Army, the military program was run by the MI of Pakistan to seek information on Indian Army's deposition in Western India. The Indian Army and associated intelligence agencies led the arrest of 50 active duty Army officers and personnel on suspicion of working for the Military Intelligence of the Pakistan Army from Samba in the northern union territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Samba, Jammu is a sleepy town in the Jammu region bordering Pakistan. Revelation of scandal led to a serious breach in foreign relations of India and Pakistan.

Between 24 August 1978 and 23 January 1979, 50-odd persons who had worked in the 168 Infantry Brigade and its subordinate units at Samba, 40 km from Jammu on the international border, were arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan at the instance of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI). Its investigations involved practically the whole officer cadre of the Brigade. Those arrested were included a Brigadier, three Lieutenant Colonels and a number of Majors, Captains, Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs), Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and personnel of other ranks, plus 11 civilians who had worked in the Samba sector. They were all taken into custody at the instance of two self-confessed Pakistani spies who worked as gunners in the Indian Army - Sarwan Dass and Aya Singh. In December 1994, Sarwan Das swore an affidavit and appeared at a press conference to admit that he had falsely implicated the men. In December 1990, Aya Singh was shot while crossing the India-Pakistan border. The falsely implicated victims received justice only in December 2000, and not fully either.[3]

The whole story, written by A. G. Noorani, was published in Frontline. The book The Price of Loyalty, written by Captain Ranbir Singh Rathaur, is a first hand account of the brutal and inhuman torture inflicted on the officers and men who were falsely implicated in the Samba Spy Case.[4]


  1. ^ Sinha, Chinki; Kapoor, Coomi; Kapoor, Coomi; Sinha, Chinki (7 March 2011). "33-yr-old autopsy report rakes up Samba spy case skeletons". The Indian Express. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Justice gone awry".
  4. ^ "The Price of Loyalty - Samba Spy Scandal". Archived from the original on 14 August 2003.