New Delhi, July 14 : The Defence Ministry today said that the Indian Army has taken disciplinary action against three of its UN peacekeepers in the Congo for their "unusual behaviour".
The Indian Army has recalled the concerned individuals and ordered detailed investigations headed by an officer of three-star rank, a Defence Ministry statement said.
"Subsequent to the investigations, disciplinary action against the three Indian peacekeepers have been initiated under the provisions of the Army Act," the statement added.
The statement said that media reports have emanated from Congo based upon various allegations leveled by either unnamed sources or by individuals of doubtful credibility, against Indian peacekeepers of indulging in "gold smuggling", "trading arms with the rebels", "refusing to conduct operations against armed rebels" and even of "sexual exploitation" of locals.
The statement said all allegations being investigated by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) were found to be false and baseless by the UN, should be indicative of the ulterior motives of those elements who have worked hard to invent them and surreptitiously plant them through the media
The Indian Army has zero tolerance for any acts of omission or commission by its peacekeepers, which violates its code of professional ethics, and accordingly, irrespective of the seriousness or frivolousness of allegations, it added.
An incident of aberrant behavior by a few of the Indian Peacekeepers, which was not part of any allegations made but, did come to light during the process of investigations, pertained to a soldier of the Indian Peacekeeping contingent being lured into purchasing a small quantity of counterfeit gold dust and thus being cheated by an anti-social person.
Investigations have revealed that the concerned soldier with his immediate superior officer, on becoming aware of having been cheated, detained the cheat to recover the soldier's money.
Irrespective of the gravity of the incident, it may be noted that the Indian Army recalled the concerned individuals and ordered detailed investigations headed by a General Officer of three-star rank. Subsequent to the investigations, the disciplinary actions against the three Indian Peacekeepers have been initiated under the provisions of the Army Act.