Court martial for IAF officer facings sexual assault charge

Court martial for IAF officer facings sexual assault charge
Court martial for IAF officer facings sexual assault charge

An Indian Air Force official charged with sexual assault of a woman colleague here days ago was handed over to the IAF for court martial, following a local court direction on Thursday.


The Additional Mahila Court here directed the police to hand over the sensitive case involving a Flight Lieutenant at the Air Force Administrative College here to the IAF, after it had filed a petition seeking his transfer citing jurisdiction.

Flight Lieutenant, Amitesh Harmukh was arrested by the police on Sunday for sexually assaulting a woman officer on September 10, in the college premises, following a complaint from the victim, who approached the department saying IAF authorities did not act on her plaint.

Even as Harmukh was in judicial custody, IAF authorities moved the court seeking his custody for further inquiry and court martial, saying the local police had no jurisdiction to investigate and arrest him, with the issue being a defense matter.

When the matter came up today, after hearing the arguments from both sides, judge Thilageshwari gave the direction to the city police to hand over the case to IAF for court martial of the accused officer.

The police who had brought Harmukh, handed him over to IAF officials, who took him under their custody.

Earlier, the 28-year old female Air Force officer levelled serious charges against the IAF authorities, including subjecting her to a banned finger test and also forcing her to withdraw the complaint against the accused Flight Lieutenant.

The charges found place in the FIR registered by the police based on the complaint by the woman officer at the All Woman Police Station, after the IAF authorities including College Commandant failed to take action till September 20 on the incident which took place on September 10.

The woman alleged that she was subjected to ‘two-finger test’ at the Air Force Hospital to ascertain rape, which was banned by the Supreme Court a few years ago.

Both the rape victim and the accused, hailing from Chhattisgarh, were part of a training course and had attended a party in the officers’ mess on the night of September 9.

According to the complaint, the incident occurred in the wee hours of the next day when she was asleep after taking medicine for her leg injury and was assaulted by the drunk officer, who had narrated the incident to two of her batchmates, who recorded the conversation between the trio.

She approached a wing commander with regard to the incident and came to the room along with another woman wing commander, who ‘advised’ her to think about the future including the reputation of the family, following which she communicated to one of her friends that she was not going to lodge any complaint.

However, as both the wing commanders again approached her and told her to either file the complaint or give in writing that the episode was consensual, she subsequently mustered courage and decided to file the plaint, amid the finger test in the evening in the hospital.

The victim further said she had handed over the mattress which had strains of semen to two women doctors, the FIR said.

After cajoling by two senior officers, who informed that the test was negative, the commandant asked her to withdraw the case in writing saying if pursued, it will be flashed in the media and bring disrepute to the Air Force and herself, police said.

However, she went to the city police commissioner’s office on September 20 and from there the all-woman police station, which registered the case.

When contacted, a senior IAF officer, on condition of anonymity, refused to comment on the issue as the matter was in court and sensitive.

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