NEW DELHI: The Army has declared one of its elite Special Forces officer, a ‘deserter’, who had gone mysteriously missing from a European nation two months ago.
A Court of Inquiry(CoI) has also been ordered into look into the matter. The Special Force Units of the Army are mandated with special operating missions such as hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare and special reconnaissance.
According to Army Headquarters(HQ), Major Sharyf Bhonsle, who was on deputation to Arunachal Pradesh government was posted as ADC to the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Lt. General Nirbhay Sharma(retd) , had reportedly gone to Spain to participate in adventure sports in July. Bhonsle, a Special Forces officer of 2 Para regiment, based in Bangalore, had proceeded on leave on June 23 and was scheduled to rejoin duty on August 18. But, he did not report for duty at the Governor’s Office and his family is also not aware of his whereabouts, said Army officials.
“Since, he has not reported back to Army HQ and his family members are also unaware of his whereabouts, HQ has declared him as ‘deserter’, as a procedure. Simultaneously, a CoI has also been ordered into mysterious disappearance,” an Army HQ officer, told Express.
Officials confirmed that Major Bhonsle had not taken the mandatory Military Intelligence clearance for going abroad. Incidentally, Arunachal Governor Lt General Sharma was also from the same 2 Para unit of the Special Forces during his time in the Army.
Army officials said Major Bhonsle was in Spain as part of a six-day international para-jumping festival and later at another spot in Norway, which was his last known location as per his social networking account.
Major Bhonsle, an alumnus of National Defence College, belongs to Pune .
When contacted an official in the Arunachal Pradesh Governor’s Office said Bhonsle’s social networking site account has not been updated since August 15. “Indian Embassies in Spain and Norway have already been informed of his disappearance and the Army HQ is in constant touch with the Embassy officials,” an officer here said.
Meanwhile, sources claimed that there was a possibility that the officer might have injured himself during adventure activity or deserted the Army. “This is not the first time that an Armyman has deserted the force during foreign trip. But, I believe an officer of elite Special Forces, disappearing under mysterious circumstances, would be the first instance of its kind,” an officer said.