Major Leetul Gogoi, who tied a civilian to an Army Jeep and paraded him through a dozen villages during elections last year in Budgam, was questioned by Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday along with a local woman and a man at a Srinagar hotel.
Gogoi was questioned at a police station following a scuffle with hotel staff, who refused to let the woman inside. The officer was later allowed to leave.
IGP (Kashmir) S P Pani has ordered a probe and appointed SP North City Sajad Ahmad Shah as the inquiry officer. “This is in reference to the Press Release issued by District Police Srinagar which reported the incident at the Hotel Grand Mamta today,” a police statement said. “In this matter, IGP Kashmir Zone has ordered a probe to be conducted by the SP North zone Srinagar in this incident within the ambit of law.”
Shah told The Indian Express: “We are conducting a parallel detailed inquiry. The story until now is that there was a room booked in the name of Leetul Gogoi. A couple came to the hotel but were not allowed inside. They (hotel staff) had said they cannot allow a local girl in the hotel.”
“On this, there was an altercation at the reception. They (hotel staff) immediately called the police. A police party was sent to the hotel, which brought them (Gogoi, the woman and another person) here. On verification, we didn’t find anything. She is an adult. She should have been 18+, something 18 or 19. We did proper verification and let them off,” he said.
Police said that Gogoi has been handed over to his unit. “… one woman (name withheld) and person namely Sameer Ahmed of Budgam had come to see some person. But the hotel reception did not allow them to meet the person. Meanwhile, police party reached the spot and brought all persons to the police station,” said a police release.
“Subsequently, it was learnt that the woman had come to meet an Army officer. The identity and particulars of the Army officer have been collected by the police. The officials were handed over to their unit after due recording their statements. The statement of the woman is also being recorded for probing the matter.”
The owner of the hotel said that they denied the booking to Major Gogoi after they found a local woman with him. “Today morning, we got an online booking from Booking.com. The booking was in the name of Leetul Gogoi, for one night and two guests,” said Ajaz Ahmad Chashoo of Hotel Grand Mamta.
In his online booking, Major Gogoi had stated that “I am travelling for business and I may be using a business credit card”.
“At the reception, when we asked for their Identity proof, he (Gogoi) presented his driving licence. The woman first hesitated to give her identity proof and then presented her Aadhaar card, which had a Budgam address written on it. We also felt she is local and seemed underaged. The date of birth on her Aadhaar card was 2001. We told them that as per our hotel policy, we do not give accommodation to locals, especially when it is a boy and girl.”
Ahmad said that when hotel staff went out to drop the luggage back in Major Gogoi’s car, the driver of the car had an altercation with them and assaulted them. “He (Gogoi) left and when we went out to put his luggage in his car — he had come in a black Alto car with a Kashmiri driver — he (Gogoi) told the driver that we insulted him. The driver got out, shouted at our relationship manager and started beating people. We called the police,” he said.
Police have identified the driver of the vehicle as Sameer Ahmad, a resident of Budgam.
On the eve of Lok Sabha bypolls last year, Major Gogoi tied a civilian, Farooq Ahmad Dar, to an Army jeep and paraded him through a dozen villages across Budgam. While he was criticised for turning Dar into a human shield, the Army had backed Gogoi and awarded him a commendation medal.