Major Gogoi, who met woman at Srinagar hotel, may face court martial
A court of inquiry (CoI) into the matter found Major Leetul Gogoi guilty of “fraternising with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and being away from the place of duty in operational area.”Updated: Aug 27, 2018 23:39 IST
A controversial army major is likely to face a general court martial for his friendship with a local Kashmiri woman, and an attempt to meet her in a local hotel in Srinagar, and being away from his designated place of duty, two officials familiar with the move said on Monday.
Major Leetul Gogoi was detained by the police in a Srinagar hotel along with the woman in May this year. A court of inquiry (CoI) into the matter found him guilty of “fraternising with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and being away from the place of duty in operational area,” said one of the officials cited above. His behaviour was in violation of the army’s standard operating procedures. “Orders have been issued to initiate disciplinary action against him,” he added, asking not to be identified. The inquiry was conducted by a brigadier. The findings of the probe have been approved by the General Officer Commanding of Srinagar headquartered 15 Corps.
The disciplinary action could be in the form of a general court martial (GCM), experts said.
Gogoi became mired in a controversy last year after tying a Kashmiri civilian to the front of his jeep, apparently in an attempt to prevent stone-pelters from targeting his convoy. The incident evoked criticism from people in the Valley, human rights activists and political leaders. Gogoi was later awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation card for “sustained efforts” in counter insurgency operations.
“The next step in disciplinary action is recording of summary of evidence, followed by a pre-trial scrutiny of documents, which usually results in a GCM,” said Major General Nilendra Kumar (retd), a former judge advocate general.
Kumar said in a case like Gogoi’s, the award of “recordable censure” should suffice but the punishment could also be “loss of seniority” as the second charge amounts to being absent without leave in an operational area.
The disciplinary action against the officer is on expected lines.
Days after the hotel incident took place, army chief General Bipin Rawat said that the major would be given “exemplary punishment” if he was found guilty of violating standard operating procedures.
The army had backed Gogoi last year after the jeep incident that deepened the army-civilian divide and sparked violent protests in the militancy-hit valley.
First Published: Aug 27, 2018 22:39 IST