Major Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of the 2017 'human shield' controversy, may face a reduction in seniority as a punishment for "fraternising" with a local woman in Srinagar in 2018, officials told news agency PTI after the completion of the court-martial proceedings against him.
The court-martial process against his driver, Sameer Malla, who was facing charges of unauthorised absence from the unit, was also completed recently in the Kashmir valley and he is likely to be given a "severe reprimand". Malla was recruited in the Territorial Army in 2017 and he was posted with 53 sector of Rashtriya Rifles, a counter-insurgency force fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
After completion of Summary of Evidence against Major Gogoi and his driver in early February followed by the initiation of court-martial proceedings, the two men have been held guilty on two counts -- "fraternising" with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and "being away from the place of duty while in operational area", the officials said.
Statements of the accused, as well as other witnesses, were recorded by the Army court and the punishment, which will be vetted by the Army headquarters, has been given, they added.
Major Gogoi was detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police following an altercation at the hotel in Srinagar where he was allegedly trying to enter with an 18-year-old woman on May 23, 2018.
Days later, the Army had ordered the CoI into the incident after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said in Pahalgam that exemplary punishment would be given to Major Gogoi if he was found guilty of "any offence".
"The CoI found Major Gogoi guilty of fraternising with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and being away from the place of duty while in the operational area," the sources said.
On April 9, 2017, Major Gogoi triggered a controversy after he tied a civilian to the bonnet of his vehicle in Kashmir, purportedly as a shield against stone pelters during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election.
(With PTI inputs)