The defence ministry has discharged a naval officer from service, punishing him for having an extra-marital affair.
The navy had in January recommended Captain Manoj Rawat’s sacking but the ministry took a lenient view, factoring in the officer’s “domestic circumstances”.
A source said the ministry has discharged the officer, forfeiting 50% of his pension benefits for his misconduct but he can retain his rank. “The ministry has toned down his punishment as he has some peculiar family issues,” he said.
The woman he was having an affair with had stated in her complaint to the navy last year that the officer had shared sensitive documents with her. The ministry scrutinised Rawat’s case but did not find any evidence of “an intelligence breach”. The source said the papers he had given to the woman pertained to his research work on Pakistan for a course he was planning to attend.
The navy immediately shunted the captain (equivalent to a colonel) out of the sensitive directorate of naval operations and ordered an inquiry against him.
There has been a flurry of sexual misconduct cases and wife-swapping allegations in the navy in recent years, incidents that have prompted defence minister AK Antony to ask the navy to take “sternest possible action”.
Two naval officers were dismissed last April – a commander (equivalent to a lieutenant colonel) for sending lewd texts to women and a lieutenant commander (equivalent to a major) for having an affair with a superior’s wife.
In 2011, a commodore (equivalent to a brigadier) after photos of his sexual liaison with a Russian woman surfaced.