Indian Army’s beleaguered hero Major Leetul Gogoi, who is facing action for allegedly fraternising with locals without permission, has not committed “as grave a mistake as was made out by the media”. Army chief General Bipin Rawat said this in an exclusive interview with MyNation on Wednesday morning.

“Army is a very disciplined organisation and we reward good work but we do not overlook acts of indiscipline. And that is all what I have to say. The inquiry has almost been completed. But the mistake was not as grave as has been made out to be by the media,” he said.

Major Leetul Gogoi, who hit the headlines in April last year for using a civilian as a shield against stone-throwers, has been held guilty by a court of inquiry of fraternising with a local and being away from his place of duty in an operational area.

Army sources said disciplinary orders have been issued against him, based on the findings of the army court of inquiry.

On May 23, police had detained Major Gogoi when he was found in a Srinagar hotel with an 18-year-old woman. After the altercation, the Army ordered a court of inquiry to probe the incident.

The CoI held him guilty of “fraternising” with a local in violation of Army instructions in operational areas. The Army Chief, who had earlier backed Gogoi for his act of tying a stone-pelter on his jeep to prevent a mob from harming him and his 20 men on government duty, had stated that the officer would be awarded an exemplary punishment if he was found guilty.

Interviewers: MyNation's editor-in-chief Abhijit Majumder and defence correspondent Ajit Kumar Dubey