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IAF inquiry into Gupta case

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April 28, 2005 00:11 IST

The Indian Air Force on Wednesday announced a court of inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment levelled against its three officials by woman officer Anjali Gupta.

An official of the rank of Air Vice Marshal, along with four other officers, including two women, will conduct the inquiry, an IAF spokesman told journalists in Bangalore.

Gupta herself is facing a court martial for indiscipline, insubordination and financial irregularities. The proceedings, which started on April 12, continued on Wednesday.

This is for the first time in the history of the IAF that a court martial has been initiated against a woman officer.

Gupta, working at the Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment in Bangalore, had made the charges in her April 7 letter to the Chief of Air Staff and the Ministry of Defence, besides complaining to police in February.

Gupta's mother, Uma Gupta, welcomed the inquiry but demanded that the court martial proceedingsĀ against her daughter be dropped.

Meanwhile, the Bangalore police served notices on Gupta's complaints to two Indian Air Force officials asking them to appear before them on Thursday. Squadron Leader R S Choudhary and Adjutant and Wing Commander V C Cyriac were served the notices by the Vimanapura police, police officials said.

Gupta was also served a notice, but she did not accept it. "Why should I accept?" she was quoted as asking by the police.

A notice to Air Commodore Anil Chopra, who was the commandant of ASTE, could not be served as he is now in Delhi on a different posting, the police said.

Gupta had filed the complaint against the three officers in February, but the police did not lodge a first information report. Instead, the officials gave an advisory asking her to resolve the issue with her superiors.

The advisory, coming three weeks after she filed the case, said it was an internal matter of the IAF and 'being the member of a disciplinary force (Defence), it is better to submit your petition to superior officers and get it solved.'

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