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GCM acquits Colonel in sexual assault case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
A general court martial (GCM) trying a Colonel for allegedly sexually assaulting a lady officer of his unit has acquitted him of all charges faced by him. The trial concluded at Tibri near Gurdaspur today.

Sources said the officer commanding an air defence regiment had faced several charges under Section 69 of the Army Act read with Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code for outraging a womanís modesty, Section 63 for acts prejudicial to military discipline and Section 57 for falsifying documents.

After the deposition of 21 prosecution witnesses and 17 defence witnesses over the past about three months, the court came to the conclusion that none of the charges levelled against Col D. Mitra could be proved. The courtís verdict is subject to confirmation by the convening authority.

In his defence, the officer had denied the charges. He had maintained that to uphold the traditions of the regiment, he was trying to be strict with the lady officer and in the bargain he was implicated in connivance with four other junior officers, the sources added.

Though officially denied by the Army, the complainant had initially alleged rape, which is reflected in her statements before the court of inquiry. Later, when fresh witnesses, including a Major-General and two Brigadiers, were examined during the recording of summary of evidence, the complainantís contentions could not be established and a prima facie case of outraging modesty and harassment was made out.

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