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IAF sacks pilot in sex scandal

– Flight Lt Sharma found guilty of having immoral ties with senior female officer – Squadron Leader Anandita Das was also wife of another senior IAF officer, an SU-30 MKI pilot – Anandita allegedly committed suicide last year – Another IAF officer, Squadron Leader Anjali killed herself after justice denied in sex abuse pleas

From Ajay Mehta & Anjali Sharma

The Indian Armed Forces that have been very badly hit by a variety of sex scandals with Indian Army and Indian Navy earning some fresh shots during the past couple of years, entered into yet another shock with Indian Air Force not feeling comfortable in falling behind Army and Navy in this direction as an IAF officer has been dismissed from service after he was indicted by a court of inquiry for having an affair with the wife of a fellow Squadron Leader. The woman, who herself was a Squadron Leader, had allegedly committed suicide in her government accommodation last year in November in Jodhpur apparently after some argument with her husband. “The Flight Lieutenant has been dismissed from Service,” a Defense Ministry PRO Colonel S D Goswami confirmed on Tuesday.

The officer, Ishant Sharma, was found guilty by the CoI instituted to look into the case of suicide by the lady married to her batch mate, Squadron Leader V Nair, who is a Su-30MKI pilot in Jodhpur. Sharma was not available for comments. In the armed forces, having an affair with a colleague’s wife is considered to be a serious punishable offence and is termed as ‘stealing of brother officer’s wife’s affection’.

After the CoI was completed, IAF’s South Western Air command had forwarded its recommendations to the Defense Ministry and it gave its approval for the action recommended by the Force, sources said. The Flight Lieutenant is learnt to be a pilot in the Su-30MKI squadron based in the desert city and had come in contact with the lady officer during informal get togethers. Anandita Das, the lady Squadron Leader, hailing from Kolkata, was found hanging from the ceiling fan at about 0300 hours by her fighter-pilot husband on November 28. According to IAF sources, the couple had some arguments before they retired on the fateful night. Anandita was commissioned into the service in 2006 and got married to Nair in 2008.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that the syndrome of sex abuse has crept into the Indian Armed Forces at every level. It remains a fact that the cases of sexual abuses at the lower level seldom come to the limelight while the cases of the similar nature, involving Officers , somehow manage to make it to the media, though not every time. These investigations indicate that in most of the cases involving officers of the Armed Forces, the leadership of the Services normally tries to hush up the issues but when the things go too wild, the action is taken, though with a pinch of salt. The Daily Mail’s investigations also indicate that whenever any female officer from any of the three Armed Forces of India lodged any complaint of sex abuse by Seniors or fellow officers, she actually invited acute trouble for herself as never in the history of Indian armed forces, any such complaint by any female officer was entertained on merit and in fact in almost every such case, every complainant female officer was instead punished and removed from the service with Squadron Leader Anjali Gupta of the IAF and Captain Poonam Kaur of the Indian Army being the top examples in this direction.

The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that the first female officer in the Indian Air Force who was court-martialled Flying Officer Anjali Gupta committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan in September 2011. A military court found her guilty of indiscipline and embezzlement. Anjali Gupta had plead that her superiors tried to sexually harass her.

Anjali, the second of three daughters in her family, was posted as an administration in-charge—a ground duty post—at the Indian Air Force’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment in Bangalore.

On December 8, 2005, a military court in Bangalore ordered the dismissal of Indian Air Force Flying Officer Anjali Gupta from service finding her guilty of seven charges including insubordination. The punishment was later confirmed by the Chief of Air Staff.

“Anjali’s problems began after she was posted to the 416 AF Station in Bangalore in November 2003. In fact, she ran into trouble five days prior to her day of reporting. She says in her FIR filed at the hal police station: “Five days ahead of the reporting date, at around 01.45 hours Sq Ldr R.S. Choudhary approached me in my room in an inebriated state trying to get forceful entry in my room….” When the same was brought to the notice of wing commander V.C. Syriac, he laughed it off saying “it was a good welcome”. According to Anjali’s family, she was shocked by the lack of sensitivity Syriac showed and found the offhand manner in which he brushed off her complaint shocking…..

2 Comments

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