Defence Minister A.K. Antony has ordered a fresh probe into the death of Capt. Sumit Kohli in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006 after his family claimed it was not suicide but murder.
The family had met Mr. Antony a fortnight ago and made a representation seeking an independent probe or a CBI investigation into the mysterious death of Capt. Kohli.
The 26-year-old captain, who was serving with the 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 his posting in counter-insurgency operations in the border State.
Following the family’s request, Mr. Antony directed Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar to get the case re-investigated, Ministry sources said here on Tuesday.
Mr. Antony also wrote a letter to Veena Kohli, mother of the young officer, informing her that he had directed the Ministry to urgently inquire into the case, they said.
“The Defence Minister has asked the Defence Secretary to inquire into Capt. Sumit Kohli’s case,” the sources said.
The captain’s sister Namrata, speaking to PTI from Chandigarh over the phone, quoted Mr. Antony’s letter to state that he had asked for an urgent probe into the officer’s death.
“I have directed the Ministry to have the matter inquired urgently,” Mr. Antony’s letter to Ms. Veena Kohli said.
Ms. Veena Kohli had demanded a probe independent of the Army or by the CBI, saying she had no faith in the Army which had held that Capt. Sumit Kohli had committed suicide.
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, the officer’s father suffered a stroke. He died a day after the officer’s cremation.
Ms. Veena Kohli, in her representation to Mr. Antony, had said Capt. Sumit Kohli was a brave officer and denied the Army’s claim that the young officer killed himself with a service rifle due to family troubles.
The officer’s family alleged that he was murdered because he knew who were behind the killing of four porters in a fake encounter in Lolab in April 2004.
In August 2005, the Army had ordered a probe into the allegation that its personnel killed four residents of a border hamlet in Jammu in a fake encounter claiming them to be militants to get gallantry awards.