Major Gogoi to face ‘reduction of seniority’

CoI indicts him for ‘fraternising local woman’
Major Gogoi to face ‘reduction of seniority’
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The court martial proceedings against army major, LeetulGogoi, who was at the center 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 "severereprimand".

Malla was recruited in the territorial army in 2017 and hewas posted with 53 sector of the rashtriya rifles, a counter-insurgency forcein Jammu and Kashmir. After completion of 'summary of evidence' against Gogoiand his driver in early February followed by the initiation of court martialproceedings, the two men have been held guilty on two counts—"fraternizing"with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and "being away from theplace of duty while in operational area", the officials said. Statements of theaccused as well as other witnesses were recorded by the army court and thepunishment, which will be vetted by the army headquarters, has been given, theyadded.

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

Gogoi was detained by the 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 himself'Ubaid Arman'. Immediately after the incident came to light last year, armychief BipinRawat had said that exemplary punishment would be given to Gogoi ifhe was found guilty of "any offence".

"If any officer of the Indian army is found guilty of any offence, we will take strictest possible action," Rawat had said. Gogoi hit the headlines after he tied a man to a jeep purportedly as a shield against stone pelters during polling in the Srinagar LokSabha by-election on April 9, 2017.

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