Amit Shah. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Jan 24 : A controversy over a woman IPS officer's assault and molestation charges against an Assam Rifles trooper continues to drag on even as the paramilitary force's Director General, Lieutenant General Sukhdeep Sangwan, is set to meet the Union Home Minister on the matter, sources said on Friday.

Sangwan will meet Amit Shah before January 30 to back Rifleman P.K. Pandey and present the "proof" on the incident, the sources added. "He has sought time from the Home Minister's office for the meeting." The January 19 incident has pitted the Assam Rifles against the IPS officers association's Manipur chapter.

An Assam Rifles statement on Tuesday night had claimed that the Indian Police Service officer's accusation that she was "assaulted, harassed and molested" at Khudengthabi checkpost on January 19 were "baseless and malicious".

"The unilateral publication of uncorroborated and unsubstantiated allegations by the lady Sub-Divisional Police Officer on alleged harassment, physical assault and misbehaviour by Assam Rifles troops on January 19, 2020 while returning from Moreh is baseless, fabricated, false and malicious. Assam Rifles categorically and firmly refutes the allegations levelled by the officer." "Can a central government servant on bona fide duty cross over to Myanmar flouting all FMR (Federal Management Regulation) rules and then cover up the act on the pretext of official duty? It needs investigation...." It maintained that the woman IPS officer had illegally entered Myanmar while on duty and bought "suspicious and unidentified goods" from across the border.

Assam Rifles claimed possession of video footage of her entry into Myanmar and subsequent loading of goods on her "so-called official vehicle", which exposed her "blatant lie" in her complaint that she was on official duty.

The Assam Rifles accused the officer of trying to avoid checking of goods loaded in her vehicle.

The IPS officer displayed "high-handedness and colourable exercise of power" at a sensitive post against the ethics of any uniformed soldier, the statement added.

"A formal request to the lady officer by the Commandant, 12 Assam Rifles, and Deputy Inspector General, Headquarter 26 Sector, Assam Rifles, to resolve the matter amicably was not responded to affirmatively. To the utter surprise, she demanded that "jawan ko mere saamne duss joote maaro tab main apology accept karungi (hit the jawan with shoes ten times only then will I accept an apology)," the statement added.

On the other hand, the IPS Officers Association (Manipur Chapter), accused Assam Rifles of "maligning her image".

Chaired by its President P. Doungel, an association meeting attended by representatives of IAS Officers Association and IFS Officers Association on Wednesday extended support to the police officer.

It maintained that the Assam Rifles statement was "highly unprofessional and maliciously worded to malign her image".

On Thursday, the association said that "Assam Rifles should extend full cooperation to the investigation in the case".

"The association resolves to extend full support, moral and financial, to any further course of action which the officer chooses to follow. The association reposes its faith in the special investigation team probing the matter and hopes that the law will take its course," the body said in a press release.

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