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Lt Gen charged with sexual misconduct, quits

New Delhi: In a major embarrassment for the Army, a Lieutenant General has been forced to resign following allegations of sexual misconduct against him by the wife of an officer during a visit abroad last month.

Army sources said that Lt Gen AK Nanda, the Engineer-in-Chief, was asked to put in his papers by Army Chief General VK Singh after a complaint that he molested the wife of his technical secretary during a visit to Israel.

Lt Gen Nanda has already put in his papers, the sources said. He is the senior-most Army officer to face such action over sexual misconduct charges.

Nanda and his team had gone to Israel along with their families, the sources said.

The complaint was filed by the wife of Nanda’s technical secretary to Army Chief’s wife and the President of the Army Wives Welfare Association Bharti Singh, who promptly put it up before General Singh.

After an inquiry into the episode, Singh is believed to have asked Nanda last week to put in his papers and leave.

Nanda had only about a year ago taken over as the Engineer-in-Chief and had earlier served as the Director General of the Border Roads Organisation.

Nanda’s technical secretary, who had expressed his displeasure and unwillingness to work under Nanda, has been posted to Bhopal.

A new technical secretary, Colonel Sanjeev Dalal, has taken over the job. When Nanda’s office was contacted, his staff, including Dalal, refused to speak on the matter. Nanda was not available for comments.

The controversy involving 59-year-old Nanda comes at a time when the Army had a loss of face over the involvement of its senior officers in the Sukna land scam.

Former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash and former Corps commander at Sukna Lt Gen PK Rath are facing a court martial in the case, while the latter’s then deputy Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali and administrative head Maj Gen PC Sen are facing administrative action.

In an earlier case of sexual misconduct two years ago, an Army court martial held in Bhatinda in Punjab had ordered the dismissal of Major General AK Lal, against whom a woman officer had filed a complaint of harassment.

Lal was commanding 3 Infantry Division in Ladakh when the charges came up.

He was later found guilty. Maj Gen Lal and his family have all along refuted these charges. When Singh had taken over as the Army Chief, he had promised to “improve the internal health” of his organisation.

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