CoI indicts Maj Gogoi

Maj Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of the ‘human shield’ controversy, has been indicted by an Army court of inquiry for “fraternising” with a local woman in Srinagar, paving the way for possible court martial, army officers said.
Army sources said disciplinary action has been recommended against Maj Gogoi after an Army Court of Inquiry (CoI), conducted by a Brigadier, indicted him for the Srinagar hotel incident on May 23. The findings of the CoI have been vetted by the General Officer Commanding of the 15 Corps, based in Srinagar.
Maj Gogoi was detained by police following an altercation at the hotel in Srinagar where he was allegedly trying to enter with an 18-year-old woman.
Days later, the Army had ordered the CoI into the incident after Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said in Pahalgam that exemplary punishment would be given to Maj Gogoi if he 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,” Gen Rawat had said.
Army sources said the CoI has held him accountable for “fraternising” with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and “being away from the place of duty while in operational area”.
The officer, who was at the centre of the human shield row after his decision to tie a civilian to the bonnet of his vehicle in Kashmir last year during stone-pelting by a mob, will now face summary of evidence, a process similar to framing of charge sheet. The process is like to take three months.
Based on the summary of evidence, to be compiled by “competent authorities”, the Army is likely to decide further action in the case which may include General Court Martial (GCM) or Summary General Court Martial (SGCM).
The sources said Maj Gogoi may face GCM if charges framed against him are serious.
The GCM is like a full court, while the proceedings in SGCM are conducted in a much shorter time span and cases are disposed of quickly.
Maj Gogoi had hit the headlines last year after he tied a man to a jeep in Kashmir purportedly as a shield against stone pelters during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9.
Gen Rawat had supported the young officer’s action and honoured him with the Army chief’s ‘Commendation Card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations.
The sources said Maj Gogoi will continue to carry out his normal duties till a final decision is announced in the case. (PTI)