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When using an ISO 8-bit character set (like ISO 8859-1), character code 0x9a is the C1 control SCI, Single Character Introducer, whose use is "reserved for future standardization" by ECMA-48. PuTTY, though, internally translates it into ESC Z, which it then interprets as DECID for VT52 compatibility. This is particularly unfortunate since it means that there's a single byte that causes PuTTY to send data back to the server, which tends to cause problems for people foolish enough as to "cat" binary files.
Audit trail for this bug.