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Anjali Gupta: The woman who rocked the Indian Air Force

December 08, 2005 18:34 IST
Flying Officer Anjali Gupta is the first woman the Indian Air Force has court-martialled. A military court has found her guilty of indiscipline and embezzlement.

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.

She alleged her superiors had sexually harassed her.

In January this year, Anjali filed a case against her seniors in the Delhi High Court, which was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

In February, she filed a case against three of her superiors -- Squadron Leader R S Choudhary, Wing Commander V C Cyriac and Air Commodore Anil Chopra -- at a local police station. The police asked her to sort the matter out with her superiors.

Gupta approached the Karnataka High Court, demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation. She also approached the Karnataka State Commission for Women.

In an April 7 letter to the Chief of Air Staff and the defence ministry, Anjali alleged her seniors had framed her in cases of embezzlement

of funds and indiscipline, charges for which had been already made by then.

The IAF's charges against Anjali included fudging bills for allowances, 'behaviour unbecoming of an officer in throwing a breakfast parcel meant for a senior officer' and not reporting for duty.

The Indian Air Force reacted to the allegations by throwing the court-martial open to the public.

Anjali's bank officer father and schoolteacher mother Uma Gupta live in Delhi. During the course of the trial, Uma Gupta told the media her husband had had a paralytic attack and that Anjali was not allowed to meet her ailing father.

The IAF said Anjali -- who has an M Phil in Sociology from Delhi University -- was placed under custody only because she was threatening suicide.

Anjali was first posted to Belgaum in 2001. Her family alleges that she made a number of complaints against the behaviour of her superiors to the IAF, which went unheeded. The Guptas also alleged that Anjali was shunted from department to department every time she complained against her seniors.
rediff Features Desk