In a big development, an Army General Court Martial (GCM) today recommended the dismissal of a Major General from service in a two-year-old sexual harassment case. "The GCM headed by a Lieutenant General-rank officer gave its verdict at 3.30 am today in which the officer has been charged under section 354A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Army Act 45, which is related to unbecoming conduct of officers in the forces," sources told ANI.
"He had been charged under section 354 of IPC earlier but the court gave special findings and held him guilty under section 354A of IPC," sources said.
As per Army rules, the recommendation of the GCM would now be sent to higher authorities including the Chief of Army Staff for confirmation. The higher authority has the powers to even change the sentence.
Advocate Anand Kumar, representing the Major General in the trial, told ANI that they will be appealing against the order as the "(GCM) court has not at all looked into the defence case. Evidence has not been appreciated properly and decision has been passed in a haste."
The Major General was posted in the Northeast when the alleged incident took place in late 2016 and was attached to Chandimandir under Army's Western Command for the disciplinary proceedings.
Sources said that the officer has denied the charges levelled against him by the Captain-rank woman officer.
In a plea filed before the Armed Forces Tribunal, the officer had claimed that he was a victim of factionalism within the Army, which had allegedly arisen due to the appointment of Army Chief in that year.
During the trial, the officer contended that there were certain issues raised by him, which have not been addressed by the authorities concerned.
The officer also has a plea pending before the tribunal for providing him the documents of the proceedings of the GCM and other related investigations in the matter. The officer had played a crucial role in one of the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army in the last few years.
In 2007, a Major General had to quit Army after a woman officer alleged that he had touched her inappropriately while teaching her yoga.