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Molest charge on army officer in Valley

A lieutenant colonel has been accused of molesting a woman from Mumba

By Muzaffar Raina in Srinagar

  • Published 29.05.19, 6:44 AM
  • Updated 29.05.19, 6:44 AM
The woman, who was on a vacation with her husband, was allegedly molested in January last year by Lt Colonel M. Nagaraj
The woman, who was on a vacation with her husband, was allegedly molested in January last year by Lt Colonel M. Nagaraj Representational picture by Shutterstock

Police have filed a chargesheet in a court in Ganderbal, central Kashmir, accusing a lieutenant colonel of molesting a woman from Mumbai.

The woman, who was on a vacation with her husband, was allegedly molested in January last year by Lt Colonel M. Nagaraj at a camp in Manasbal in Ganderbal. The FIR was lodged in February last year.

The chargesheet says the charges of sexual harassment and stalking had been “established against the accused” after recording the statements of witnesses and preparation of the site plan.

The officer, however, has approached the high court, which has stayed proceedings in the lower court till the next hearing.

The army had earlier opted for trial in a civil court after it was given the option by a court in Ganderbal to choose between court martial and criminal proceedings.

The complainant has said that she and her husband were staying as guests of the officer at a garrison guesthouse from January 1 to 4 last year. She was allegedly molested by the officer during New Year celebrations at the camp.

The woman had filed a complaint with senior army officers in the Valley during her stay here.

The chargesheet also says the police could not arrest the accused as he is a soldier posted in a Rashtriya Rifles camp in Manasbal. The army enjoys immunity from prosecution in civil courts because of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The army, on its part, had ordered an inquiry which “prima face” had not found the officer involved in any offence of sexual harassment, although he was found guilty of lapses including inviting civilians to an army garrison without permission.

In a plea filed in the high court last week, the officer sought a stay on the operation of the FIR and proceedings in the Ganderbal court, claiming he will “suffer an irreparable loss and harm which will not be compensated latter by any mode” in case he does not get the relief.

On May 22, the high court ordered a stay on the proceedings in the lower court “subject to objections by the other side” and “till the next date of hearing.”

The case is listed for hearing on June 6.

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