Colonel (retired) H S Kohli, sacked from the Army for faking encounters during counter insurgency operations in North East in 2003, has filed a review petition before the Armed Forces Tribunal. "We have fresh evidence in official notings which suggest that defence ministry's decision-making process in the case was contrary to the decision taken by the authorities concerned. So, we have filed a review petition before the Tribunal," Kohli's counsel Dil Jit Singh said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Kohli's earlier petition in the case was dismissed by the Tribunal this year in January. Singh claimed that the ministry notings on Kohli's dismissal orders show that the under secretary concerned had recommended commuting his sentence, which was accepted by the joint secretary, who was the competent authority. "But fearing media backlash if Kohli was reinstated, the joint secretary sent it to higher ups, who stuck to the dismissal order," he claimed. In the review petition, Singh said, the Tribunal would be urged to have a look at the decision-making process of the ministry in the case. According to Singh, during the court martial, Kohli was offered a plea bargain to plead guilty and he would be given a minor punishment but later on he was dismissed from service.
Colonel Kohli, commanding officer of an artillery regiment in Assam, had taken photographs of civilians splashed with tomato ketchup posing as corpses and gave them to his seniors to stake claim for gallantry award. The incident took place at Bada Nagadun near Silchar in Assam in 2003 and Kohli was dismissed from the Army in November 2004 after a court martial found him guilty. His modus operandi prompted media to dub him as "ketchup colonel". Later on it emerged that Kohli had followed orders from his superior Brig S S Rao, who said he was taking directions from his superiors. "No action was taken against the then Corps Commander. Rao's dismissal was commuted to lesser punishment and he was reinstated in the Army and only Kohli was left to be the fall guy," he added.