Col, wife cooked up sex charge against general
NEW DELHI: Investigations into sexual harassment allegations levelled against a senior Army general by a colonel's wife have taken a sensational new twist.
A court of inquiry (COI) into the allegations against Army's engineer-in- chief Lt-Gen A K Nanda has exonerated him, while recommending disciplinary action against Colonel C P S Pasricha, who accused the general of sexually harassing his wife.
According to sources, the COI headed by Lt-Gen A S Lamba, chief of the Shimla-based Army Training Command, submitted its report over a week ago. The inquiry panel, which included a senior Army woman doctor, found that allegations against Nanda were unsubstantiated and inconsistent. More importantly, the COI found that Pasricha and his wife had made a similar allegation against another Army officer in the past.
The report is presently being scrutinized by Army authorities in Western Command. Sources said once the Army chief approves the COI report, action will be taken.
According to sources, the COI has recommended that Pasricha be counselled for making the allegations. In Army, counselling is taken as a disciplinary measure and involves formally telling the relevant officer that he has committed a mistake and a repeat would be severely punished. The counselling is also entered in the officer's service records.
Pasricha, who was serving as technical secretary to Nanda, alleged that the general tried to sexually harass his wife when they were on a trip to Israel in May. The allegation, which came at a time when the armed forces were having to grapple with other controversies, left the Army red-faced and the general distraught.
Pasricha had alleged that the incident took place when Nanda, his wife, the colonel and his wife were visiting Israel in May. During the course of the probe, the COI had approached Israelis for further inputs but they politely told the investigators that Tel Aviv did not keep an eye on its friends. And the hotel's CCTV recordings had automatically been erased after three days.
An Indian military officer posted in Israel who was coordinating the visit of the delegation told the COI that on the day of the alleged incident, Pasricha and his wife went pub hopping for several hours after the incident allegedly took place. After the alleged incident, the two families had together taken a vacation in Egypt, the inquiry found.