Major Gogoi suffers ignominy of seniority reduction, exit from Kashmir

Major Gogoi suffers ignominy of seniority reduction, exit from Kashmir

Major Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of the 2017 'human shield controversy', will suffer the ignominy of reduction in seniority and exit from Kashmir Valley with the Army headquarters confirming the punishment for "fraternising" with a local woman last year, officials said here on Sunday.

A court martial had held Gogoi and his driver Sameer Mallaguilty on two counts – "fraternising" with a local woman in spite ofinstructions to the contrary and "being away from the place of duty whilein operational area", the officials said.

The company commander of the unit of Malla, who was facingcharges of unauthorised absence, has been authorised to decide on hispunishment which includes 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.

The proceedings of the court martial were confirmed by theArmy headquarters after which it was decided to shift him out the valley, theofficials said, adding that the final orders were received very recently.

Gogoi and Malla's summary of evidence was completed in earlyFebruary, followed by the initiation of the court martial proceedings, theysaid.

The statements of the both the accused as well as otherwitnesses were recorded by the Army court and the punishment, which has beenvetted by the Army headquarters, has been given, they added.

Major Gogoi and his driver were detained by Jammu andKashmir Police following an altercation with the hotel staff when he wasallegedly trying to enter it with an 18-year-old woman on May 23 last year.

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 on 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".

Major Gogoi hit the headlines after he tied a man to a jeeppurportedly as a shield against an "unruly mob" which was hurling stones duringa by-poll at Budgam, which forms part of the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, on April9, 2017.

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