Court martial of Major Gogoi completed; may face reduction of seniority

"Statements of the accused as well as other witnesses were recorded by the Army court and the punishment, which will be vetted by the Army headquarters, has been given"
Court martial of Major Gogoi completed; may face reduction of seniority
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The court martial proceedings against Major Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of the 2017 'human shield' controversy, have been completed and he may face reduction in seniority as a punishment for "fraternising" with a local woman in Srinagar last year, officials said.

The court martial process against his driver, Sameer Malla,who was facing charges of unauthorised absence from the unit, was alsocompleted recently in the Kashmir valley and he is likely to be given a"severe reprimand".

Malla was recruited in the Territorial Army in 2017 and hewas posted with 53 sector of Rashtriya Rifles, a counter-insurgency forcefighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

After completion of Summary of Evidence against Major Gogoiand his driver in early February followed by the initiation of court martialproceedings, the two men have been held guilty on two counts —"fraternising" with a local in spite of instructions to the contraryand "being away from the place of duty while in operational area",the officials said.

Statements of the accused as well as other witnesses wererecorded by the Army court and the punishment, which will be vetted by the Armyheadquarters, has been given, they added.

The Army Court of Inquiry (CoI) had recommended disciplinaryaction against Major Gogoi after it indicted him as well as his driver for theSrinagar hotel incident on May 23 last year.

Major Gogoi was detained by police following an altercationwith the hotel staff when he was allegedly trying to enter inside with an18-year-old woman.

The woman had expressed her unwillingness to depose duringthe court martial proceedings and informed the Army authorities that she hadgiven a statement before a magistrate and the same should be treated as herfinal stand.

The woman had also stated that she had gone out with MajorGogoi of her own will, besides disclosing that she had become a friend of theArmy officer through his fake Facebook profile, where he had named himselfUbaid Arman.

Immediately after the incident came to light last year, Armychief Bipin Rawat had said that exemplary punishment would be given to MajorGogoi if he was found guilty of "any offence".

"If any officer of the Indian Army is found guilty ofany offence, we will take strictest possible action," General Rawat hadsaid.

Major Gogoi hit the headlines after he tied a man to a jeeppurportedly as a shield against stone pelters during polling in the SrinagarLok Sabha by-election on April 9, 2017.

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