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Anjali Gupta to seek justice from Karnataka High Court

Sentence needs confirmation by AOC-in-C, New Delhi


  • Court Martial finds her guilty of five of the seven charges
  • Ms. Gupta to file pre-confirmation petition with convening authority
  • She had changed counsel eight times since the case began
  • Says she was "sacrificed" so that the three IAF officers were saved

    BANGALORE: Indian Air Force flying officer Anjali Gupta, who was dismissed from service and stripped of her rank after a General Court Martial (GCM) found her guilty of five of the seven charges against her, will seek justice from the Karnataka High Court.

    While dropping two charges the military court found her guilty of behaving in a manner unbecoming of the position and character of an officer and obtaining road mileage allowance through false claims besides three other charges.

    The GCM passed the sentence under section 73 of the Indian Air Force Act `Cashiered' (Dismissal from service and stripping of rank). The sentence, however, needs to be confirmed by the convening authority — AOC-in-C, New Delhi.

    Bias alleged

    Speaking to mediapersons after the verdict, Ms. Gupta said the order would have been different had some of the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) officials were not biased against her during the GCM proceedings and produced necessary documents. She said she would file a pre-confirmation petition with the convening authority, which has to confirm the verdict and sentence passed by the GCM on Thursday. She said three of the senior officials of the ASTE who allegedly harassed her sexually were the main prosecution witnesses against all the seven charges.

    Declines mercy plea

    Ms. Gupta declined to make any mercy plea when she was asked by the court before pronouncing the verdict whether she would like to make any mercy plea before it. The prosecution had presented 17 witnesses in its support of seven charges and the trial went on for over eight months after it had begun on April 12 this year. The court had over 80 sittings during the last eight months before it was adjourned sine die after pronouncing its verdict.

    Ms. Gupta had changed her counsel eight times while the prosecution was represented by Wg. Cdr. R.K. Dubey since the beginning. Ms Gupta was the third woman officer to be court martialled.

    `Bad' environment

    Ms. Gupta said a proper ``environment'' has not been created for women who have been inducted into the IAF. ``I am not saying that the situation is bad (for women) in all places (of IAF). But the place where I worked, it certainly was,'' said Ms. Gupta. The 30-year-old said she has been receiving support from junior women IAF officers for her cause seeking to create a space for women in society but they were not coming out openly as they were in uniform.

    She alleged that the IAF ``thought it better'' to ``sacrifice'' her to ``save the skin'' of three IAF officers against whom she had levelled sexual harassment charges. The IAF perceived a threat to its image from her and got her removed from service, Ms. Gupta charged. — UNI, PTI

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