COIMBATORE: The additional Mahila court on Thursday directed Coimbatore police to hand over the rape case against a flight lieutenant to Indian Air Force (IAF) for court-martial proceedings. During the in-camera hearing that lasted for nearly three hours, counsel for IAF cited provisions of the Air Force Act, 1950, and argued the case be handed over to them for court-martial proceedings. However, the police objected to this and sought two-day custody of the accused, sources said.
After hearing the submissions, judge (in-charge) N Thilageswari directed the police to hand over the case to the Indian Air Force. Subsequently, Indian Air Force authorities took the accused into their custody. He was taken to the Air Force Administrative College campus at Red Fields
Earlier in the day, flight lieutenant S Amitesh Harmukh (29) was brought from the Udumalai sub-jail where he was remanded five days ago. “As per the court order, the case should be probed by only court-martial. If guilt is proven, the accused will get punishment,” said N Sundaravadivelu, advocate who appeared for the accused. .
Sundaravadivelu said IAF authorities would consider the FIR registered by city police as part of the case. The investigation cannot be continued without the documents collected by civil police, he added. Harmukh was arrested by all-women police (Central) on September 25 based on a complaint from a 28-year-old woman officer of the Air Force Administrative College.
She stated that she was sexually assaulted by the accused in her room in the wee hours of September 10 when she was unconscious because of medication. The IAF officer further alleged that she was forced to undergo the banned two-finger test by IAF doctors and that senior officers tried to hush up the incident.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women condemned the action of IAF doctors in conducting the banned and intrusive two-finger test on the rape survivor. “The Commission is utterly disappointed and strongly condemns the action thereby violating the Supreme Court’s decision and also violating the right to privacy and dignity of the victim,” the National Commission for Women said in a press release.
Chairperson of the commission Rekha Sharma wrote to the Air Chief Marshal to look into the matter and impart the necessary knowledge to IAF doctors about the guidelines laid down by the government and the ICMR in 2014, terming the two-finger test unscientific.