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Anjali's counsel was not evicted, says IAF

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday denied Flying Officer Anjali Gupta's allegation in Monday's general court martial that her lawyer, H.B. Mishra, was thrown out of the IAF Officers' Mess in Jalahalli on Sunday night.

In his objection to Ms. Gupta's application on Monday to adjourn the proceedings as her counsel was "missing," the Prosecutor, Wg. Cdr. R.K. Dubey, said on Tuesday that Mr. Mishra had left the mess on Sunday afternoon and had locked the room allotted to him. The room continued to be locked as the keys were still with Mr. Mishra, he said.

Wg. Cdr. Dubey said Mr. Mishra, on instruction from the IAF Training Command, was permitted to stay in the mess temporarily from June 21 (Tuesday) night. He stayed there till June 25 (Saturday) when the Training Command instructed the mess secretary to get the room vacated. This instruction cited a Supreme Court order that the IAF is not obliged to provide accommodation to civilian defence counsel during general court martial proceedings.

The mess secretary could not convey the message to Mr. Mishra on June 25 (Saturday) as he returned late. When he was informed on June 26 (Sunday) morning, Mr. Mishra said he would not leave the room till Ms. Gupta made alternative arrangement for his stay. Around 2 p.m. a mess boy told the mess secretary that Mr. Mishra had locked the room and left.

Wg. Cdr. Dubey asked the court to give Ms. Gupta three hours to get Mr. Mishra to vacate the room.

The Presiding Officer, Gp. Capt. V. Ganesh, declined to pass any order stating that it was purely an administrative matter over which the court has no jurisdiction.

Earlier, Mr. Mishra, who reported ill on Monday and attended the court on Tuesday, objected to the prosecutor submitting his objection to Ms. Gupta's application. To this, the prosecutor replied that he could not file the objection then because Ms. Gupta had not given him a copy of the application during the proceedings on Monday. He then asked the court to permit him to withdraw for the day as he was not feeling well and the doctors had advised him rest. The court adjourned the case till Wednesday.

Mishra found

When the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) of the Indian Air Force complained that Mr. Mishra had gone missing, the city police did not know that he will be found easily.

The HAL police, with whom the complaint was lodged on Monday morning, straightaway went to the room next to the hall where the court martial proceedings were on.

To their surprise, the police found Mr. Mishra sitting next to Ms. Gupta. What added to Mr. Mishra's dismay was the demand made by the police that he should make a statement.

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