The Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the incident where Major Leetul Gogoi was seen with a local Kashmiri woman in a Srinagar hotel on May 23, is likely to indict the controversial Army officer. The findings of the CoI could lead to disciplinary action against Major Gogoi.
Sources told The Indian Express that the findings of the CoI had been submitted to the XV Corps and were being studied before being processed as per military law. The CoI, sources said, indicted Major Gogoi guilty on at least two counts: being away from the place of duty while on active service in an operational area and for violating the official Army policy on fraternising with a local woman “source”.
On May 23, Major Gogoi, along with a local Kashmir woman and one Sameer Ahmed, who was also in the Army, were questioned at a police station in Srinagar following an altercation at the Hotel Grand Mamta after the staff refused to let the woman in.
On May 31, J&K police in its status report to a Srinagar court had said that “no case is made out against Gogoi and neither the hotelier nor the girl had filed any complaint.”
The CoI, headed by a Brigadier, took the testimonies of Major Gogoi, other Army officers concerned besides checking documents dealing with the case.
The CoI’s findings, sources said, have been recommended by a Major General and await the approval of the XV Corps Commander. Sources did not place a time-frame on the approval of findings by XV Corps Commander but expected it to happen shortly.
After the Corps Commander’s approval of CoI’s findings, Army authorities will frame charges against the officer citing relevant provisions of the Army Act. They can then decide to either punish the officer or convene a court martial to try the officer.
Sources maintained that the CoI was not complete as it awaited legal vetting and it could not comment on the matter till it is formally concluded. On May 26, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said in Pahalgam, “If Major Gogoi has done something wrong, I assure you, he will be punished and the punishment will be such that it will set an example.”
The Army Chief had supported Major Gogoi last year after his act of tying a civilian to a jeep during the Srinagar bypoll as a “human shield” against stone pelters. The officer, posted with a Rashtriya Rifles battalion, was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card by General Rawat for his action which created a huge controversy.