Guwahati: The court martial proceedings against Major Leetul Gogoi were completed and he is likely to face reduction in seniority of six months as punishment for ‘fraternising’ with a local woman in Srinagar last year.
The army officer, infamous for the 2017 human shield controversy, was also held guilty for being out of place of duty during operational hours, along with his driver, Sameer Malla, who facilitated the major’s relationship with the local woman. Malla is expected to be given a “severe reprimand”.
The court martial comes after the army Court of Inquiry (CoI) had recommended disciplinary actions against the Major and his driver for the Srinagar hotel incident.
The incident came to light when Gogoi was arrested by police in May 2018 following an altercation with hotel staff, while trying to enter the place with an 18-year-old Kashmiri woman. The woman stated that she’d gone out with the Major on her own will after becoming friends with him on social media through his fake account, named Ubaid Arman.
She refused to depose during the court martial proceedings, maintaining that she had given a statement before a magistrate and the same should be treated as her final stand.
Immediately after the incident came to light last year, Army chief Bipin Rawat had said that exemplary punishment would be given to Major Gogoi if he was found guilty of “any offence”.
Major Gogoi was at the helm of affairs when in 2017, he tied a civilian to the bonnet of his jeep as a ‘human shield’ against stone-pelters in Budgam district during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9, 2017. The instance led to huge outcry in the country, and was condemned by many, including Amnesty International.
In spite of which, Army General Bipin Rawat had awarded Major Gogoi the COAS commendation card for the act.