For the first time in Indian Army's history, a retired woman officer has been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year after an army court held her guilty of corruption, indiscipline and professional impropriety.
Major Dimple Singla, who faced General Court Martial (GCM) proceedings at K area, an army cantonment, in Zirakpur town of Punjab, was also ordered to be cashiered (degradation of a military officer that involves stripping of medals, badges and status).
Singla, who completed her service in 2007, was convicted of accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 from an advocate, who was a defence counsel of an accused army Havildar Chandran, to influence the court martial proceedings in his favour in 2006 in Dehradun.
She was also found guilty of favouring various accused during court martial proceedings and of influencing their trials.
Singla was charged under Section 63 (violation of good order and army discipline) and 69 (prevent of corruption) of the Army Act. The court martial against her had commenced in 2007. She has been arrested and put behind bars.
The GCM was presided over by Col Sanjeev Jose and the verdict came late Wednesday night.
Singla was an officer in the branch of Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the army.
She was commissioned in the JAG branch of the Indian Army in March 1997. Her trial started in April 2007 but the court proceedings were adjourned several times for various reasons.
GCM proceedings were adjourned Dec 28 last year, as Singla was admitted to a hospital with complaints of poor health. However, she left the hospital the next day (Dec 29) without being formally discharged and without informing anybody following which arrest warrants were issued against her.
Army officials also raided her house but did not find her.
In the meantime Singla appealed before the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal and said that she would appear before the GCM, provided she is not arrested. However, the tribunal denied her plea and directed her to appear before the GCM Feb 1.
She was placed under arrest by the army court Feb 1 but was granted bail Feb 9.