A general court martial here has sentenced a Major to three years of rigorous imprisonment for having a relationship with a foreign woman and accepting money from her illegally. He has been dismissed from service.
A jury of five completed the court martial earlier this week after a trial that lasted 10 months. A competent authority of the Army will now have to confirm the verdict against Major Saurabh Saharan of 61 Cavalry, posted to 2 Lancers.
Nancy Chapman from the U.S., living in India for more than a decade, had complained to the Chief of the Army Staff that the Major had duped her of Rs. 17.5 lakh. The jury cross-examined her as a prosecution witness.
The Major was tried for charges such as giving information to a foreign national about official matters in violation of the Official Secrets Act, 1923; amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income; making a false statement deliberately (Section 57 [a] of the Army Act); remaining in contact with a woman in violation of instructions on contact with foreign nationals (Section 63); and improperly accepting money from her.
A defence spokesperson said on Wednesday that the court martial found him guilty of four charges and ordered that he be cashiered from service and imprisoned for three years. A cashiered officer would be stripped of his rank, privilege and responsibility. In a public ceremony, his insignia would be removed and destroyed. He would not be entitled to any benefits. Last year, the Major’s father, a Colonel, had complained to the income-tax authorities about Ms. Chapman’s stay and earnings in India. He had sought an investigation into the earnings and dealings of the U.S. national, who obtained a business visa after allegedly overstaying.