'Ketchup Colonel's' plea to beheard by Army Tribunal on July 8

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New Delhi, July 2 (ANI): The Armed Forces Tribunal has said it will hear the review petition of Colonel Harvinder Kohli a.k.a "The Ketchup Colonel" on July 8.

Kohli has sought his reinstatement in the Army through the tribunal.

The tribunal consists of a retired high court judge and a retired lieutenant general.

Six months ago, the tribunal had rejected Kohli's petition on technical grounds after he had admitted to his "guilt" before the general court marital.

Kohli, however, said that he had pleaded gulity because he was told by his boss, Brigadier S. S. Rao, that if he did this as part of a plea bargain, the court would let him off with a reprimand and two years' loss of seniority.

The plea bargain, however, was not brought to the notice of the court. So after he pleaded guilty, the court dismissed Kohli from service.

Kohli has now argued in his petition that since it has been proved that he staged only a fake encounter and that too at the behest of his boss, the brigadier, who in turn was influenced by his boss, the major general, he should be taken back into the Army.

He has also pointed out that the brigadier and the major general have been let off, and therefore the principle of proportionality should be applied to him as well.

The case related to Kohli refusing to carry out the orders of his superiors to bump off five captured militants of the Assam Commando Group in an encounter in August 2003.

His immediate superior, a brigadier, told him that "kills" in encounters were important and this is what mattered.

The brigadier told him that if he could not kill anyone, then at least a "fake" encounter should be staged.

An NDA cadet and brought up under the culture of obedience, Kohli made, what was the mistake of his life.

He dressed up five men and made them lie down on the ground. They were sprayed with ketchup and pictures were taken of them.

His bosses and he were happy. He did not have to kill anybody and his superiors were contented with pictures of the purported kill. (ANI)

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