This war veteran’s battle for pension continues even after 55 years

Hyderabad: Seventy-eight-year-old former gunner M Sampath might have won the battle against enemy but he has surely lost the war to the bank.

Thanks to State Bank of India, former war veteran has been left to fend for himself after they decided to deduct Rs 9000 per month from his pension to recover Rs. 223280, which they claim has been paid in excess of his entitlement.

Sampath was fighting for his designated pension for almost 52 years and finally, he won a case in Armed Forces Tribunal in 2014. Sampath prayer was to treat him as ‘war casualty’ rather than a ‘battle accident’ so that he could get the pensionary benefits accordingly.

It was on December 17, 1965, when Sampath was in the war zone. A dispatch rider, he was tasked to deliver arms to the men on the border.

“Those days, roads were dusty. Plumes of dust were creating poor visibility. I was riding a motorcycle carrying heavy guns. The convoy was moving towards Bhilwara, Rajasthan. We reached the war zone. An arms and ammunition refilling vehicle was approaching us from the opposite direction. Due to the dust, it did not see me approaching and hit my motorcycle,” he said

In this accident Sampath lost his left leg. After treatment Sampath was discharged from his duties on March 9, 1967. He was first paid a pension of Rs.27. Later he approached different Sainik Welfare Associations and Armed Force tribunal while working as a clerk at Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME).

Finally, in 2014, the mistake was rectified and he was considered to be eligible for ‘liberalized disabilities pension’ which is similar to ‘war casualty’.

“Even after the 2014 Judgment, the bank is not paying me the actual pension amount”, he said.

He and his son SA Lazer shot off letters to Sainik Welfare association asking for the actual amount. The bank in the meantime deducted Rs. 9000 each for March and February 2018. Now it has been kept on hold after the son and father duo approached the Armed Forces Tribunal stating this issue.

Sampath is eligible for a pension of Rs.45, 000 to Rs. 50,000, but is getting only Rs. 25,998. The bank claimed that they have been paying him in excess of his pension. According to the bank, Sampath owes them Rs. 223280. Accordingly, the bank will deduct Rs 9000 from his pension every month until the recovery of the full amount

“I still have hope that I will get my eligible pension one day and I have full faith on god, I also plan to approach Supreme Court,” he said

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter. A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *