Thursday, June 3, 2010

Army hit by sex scandal

Army hit by sex scandal
3 Jun 2010, 1425 hrs IST
In a major embarrassment for the Army, the Engineer-in-Chief, Lieutenant General A K Nanda has been accused of sexual misconduct towards the wife of a fellow Army officer. There have been unconfirmed reports that he even has been asked to resign; at any rate the allegations made to Army authorities by the victim seem to be strong enough for the general to now face an internal probe.

If the general is found guilty, he could face a court martial and be forced to either resign or take an early retirement and could even lose his pension.

The lady concerned is the wife of the technical secretary of the Engineer-in-chief, and was allegedly sexually misbehaved with by the accused lieutenant general during a trip to Israel. She thereafter reportedly complained to the Army Chief's wife, who is also the president of the Army Wives' Welfare Association (AWWA).

A serious a charge against such a senior general who is almost on the verge of retirement, warrants two possible responses by authorities; He could be asked to leave the Army immediately, or face a courtmartial. Both options would be a major embarrassment for the Army. But the reputation of the Army is at stake and one can expect the Army Chief to take prompt and stringent action to set the right example.

In the last 20 years there have been several cases where officers have been asked to leave the defence services on account of 'stealing the affections of a brother officer's wife' - as mentioned in the rules and regulations. However cases of sexual misconduct is also a criminal offence and can attract civil prosecution.

Wing Commander (retired) Bakshi, commenting on the development, said "If this lady reports the matter, authorities will take suitable action, they will order a court of inquiry for which suitable officers will be selected. Then, if there is enough evidence against the accused, the Army chief can call for a courtmartial. The general will also get judicial guarantees and an opportunity to defend himself against the allegation. There is a feeling that in the Armed forces people can get away with such things - that is wrong. The standards are very high provided the commanders can maintain them."
Army hit by sex scandal

Lt-Gen accused of molesting aide Col’s wife
The accused, Lt-Gen A K Nanda (59), who as the engineer-in-chief (E-in-C) is among the eight principal staff officers of the Army chief, is alleged to have molested the wife of his aide, Colonel C P S Pasricha, during an official trip to Israel in the second week of May.

There were even indications that the case could be the result of some dirty top-level jostling for the "extremely lucrative" E-in-C post, controlling "all the construction and works projects" of the 1.13-million strong Army spread across the country. In the steeply hierarchical structure of the armed forces, a senior officer being sacked or resigning before his term ends can change the entire chain of succession after him. Nanda is to retire in September.

Nanda’s wife, Neerja, too jumped to her husband’s defence. "The allegations are not true. I was also part of the five-day trip to Israel... I can vouch 100% for my husband’s character. We have been married for 35 years. Let the Army conduct an inquiry... the truth will come out," she said.
Lt-Gen accused of molesting aide Col’s wife: TNN, Jun 3, 2010, 05.37pm IST
Sex scandal in Army takes many twists and turns

Inference from Media Reports
1. Do wives accompany officers on Official Foreign assignments. Even if permission has been granted it behooves on the Senior officer to maintain decorum and honour in keeping with the traditions of the Military in so far as ladies are concerned.
2. The trip primarily seems to be for joint vacation to Egypt for which advance payments had been made.
3. Junior officer's contention of not reporting in foreign soil is genuine. No one will want to throw up dirty linen abroad. Molestation is a serious charge where the accused can be arrested irrespective of status or rank in any country irrespective of one's nationality.
4. The Senior Officer by posting out his Junior Officer to Bhopal on return to Delhi exposes his complicity.
5. Performance of an Officer cannot diminish in a couple of days in a foreign nation.
6. The onus rests with the accused to prove his innocence.

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