Antony orders fresh probe into Capt Kohli`s death

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 16:33

New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony has
ordered a re-investigation into the mysterious death of
Captain Sumit Kohli in Jammu and Kashmir, heeding to the
demands of his family that had maintained that it was a murder
and not a suicide as claimed by the Army.

Antony, who had met the family of Sumit a fortnight ago,
asked Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar to order the fresh
investigation following a representation from the young
officer`s mother Veena Kohli, Ministry sources said today.

Veena had demanded a probe independent of the Army or by
the CBI, saying she had no faith in the Army that had declared
that Sumit had committed suicide.

26-year-old Sumit, who was serving with 16 Rashtriya
Rifles in Lolab in north Kashmir, was found dead with gun shot
wounds in his room in the military residential facility in
April 2006 on the last day of posting in counter-insurgency
operations in the border state.

It had been just two months since he had won the Shaurya
Chakra, the country`s third highest peacetime gallantry medal,
for a brave act in the Kashmir operations and his sudden death
had shocked his family.

On receiving the news of his son`s demise, Sumit`s
father suffered a stroke. He died a day after the officer`s
cremation.

Veena, in her representation to Antony, had said that
Sumit was a brave officer and could never have committed
suicide. She also denied Army`s claim that the young officer
killed himself with a service rifle due to family troubles.

His family alleged that he was murdered because he
knew who were behind the killing of four porters in a fake
encounter in Lolab in Kashmir in April 2004.

In August 2005, the Army had ordered a probe into the
allegation that its personnel killed four natives of a border
hamlet in Jammu in a fake encounter claiming them to be
militants to get gallantry awards.

Refuting Veena`s contention, Col Rahul Pandey, who was
the then commanding officer of Sumit`s unit, had maintained
that it was a case of suicide due to family troubles.

The Defence Minister had assured the family, based
in Chandigarh, that Summit`s death would be re-investigated
and he would get back to them on it soon.

Sumit`s family had appealed to the Minister to provide
justice to it, noting that its suspicion over the mystery over
Sumit`s death had only strengthened on perusal of documents
due to contradictions in the autopsy and medical reports.
Demanding access to original documents, Veena had said,
"it should be found out how he died. I had earlier thought
that whatever Army was saying was correct, but I want his
post-mortem report so that I can be fully satisfied. I can`t
believe he had committed suicide."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 16:33

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