A Major Death

When a young army major was brought out dead from her Bari Brahmana quarter, the story ended with the assertion that it was a suicide. As investigations continued for 44 days, it was eventually revealed that the Himachal soldier was caught in a serious personal crisis, reports Syed Junaid Hashmi

Major Anita Kumari alongwith her sisters.

On December 15, 2016,  Anita Kumari, a Major rank officer, with Army Service Core (ASC) was recovered dead from her official residence. She was stationed at Field Supply Depot (FSD) 259 BD 1190 in Bari-Brahmana cantonment in Jammu outskirts.

More than a month later, the death is still a mystery. Family claims it a murder. But police and the army insist it was suicide. But nobody in the garrison, that night, heard a gunshot.

A handout issued by the army said the lady officer was found dead in Quarter No 199/3, her official residence,  on  December 15, 2015, evening. Her colleagues from 259-ASC, alerted by her domestic help, found her corpse in a pool of blood at around 8.15 PM. Bari Brahmana Police sent SDPO Kulbeer Handa and SHO Yashpal Singh Jamwal after Army informed them at around 9 PM. Her family living in Udiapur village of Chamba in Himachal was informed at around 10.10 PM.

Police said Major Anita had sustained bullet injury from her service pistol which was also found lying near her body. On circumstantial evidence, police said, it was suicide. On the very first day, the police seized a diary, a wallet and the weapon, among other items. Three suicide notes bearing different dates were found and the same were handed over to Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis and confirming whether it was handwritten by Anita.

Soon after the corpse was recovered, autopsy was carried out, the police started inquest proceedings that completed on January 28, 2017. Completed after 44 days, they lodged an FIR against Major Anup, with whom Major Anita was in love and her ex-husband Anubhav Kumar Aggarwal of rape, abetment to suicide, conspiracy and blackmail.

Three weeks later, police have  arrested neither of the two. Major Anup Kumar is posted in the 898/AT Battalion of Army in Rajouri and Anubhav Kumar Aggarwal is a Delhi based businessman.

By now, the Forensic report has come. Of the three suicide notes, two are now confirmed to be bearing Anita’s handwriting. In one of these notes, sources said, Anita had written that she was being blackmailed and that Major Anup shall be held responsible for her death. He has actually applied for anticipatory bail.

Police investigations, though not submitted to court so far, tell an interesting story. Major Kumari has been a brilliant student, who choose army as a career in 2007 with her yearlong posting in Assam. As a captain in Pathankote, Kumari had performed duties of Commanding Officer (CO) and was termed distinguished. During her tenure there, her family married her to a Delhi based businessman Anubhav Kumar Aggarwal, a trained Computer Engineer. The marriage was solemnised on June 6, 2009. Soon after the honeymoon was over, Anubhav suggested her to leave the armed forces.

Career-oriented, Kumari refused and joined back. He would often visit her.  During one such visit to Misamari in Arunachal Pradesh, police inquest maintains Anubhav met her and the two became  friends. They would often be seen together, even at her official residence.

With her husband far away, and Anup around, they got closer despite Major Anup being married and having a child. This closeness led Kumari to part ways from Aggarwal and they divorced on July 7, 2013. Now, Kumari began pressurizing Major Anup Kumar to marry her.

Major Anup kept delaying the same on the pretext that his wife, Major Deepti,was not ready to divorce him and that he would be dismissed in case of divorce. This led Major Kumari pleading before him that he should either divorce his wife and marry her or break his relationship with her. But Anup had assured his relationship. He had, according to police inquest, secretly filmed his private moments with her.  Interestingly, he has shared the same with her  ex-husband. In a tragic twist, both were using the same to blackmail her for money and sex. Every time, she would talk of marriage, she would be threatened of an “exposure” using internet.

On December 12, Kumari got a call from Anup. He told her that he had taken a leave and would be coming to her place in the evening, according to police investigations. Major Anup entered the Bari Brahmana cantonment in the wee hours on December 12, 2016.

Anup stayed with her till December 14, 2016. On the fateful day he left at around 1.15 AM in dead of the night. The Shayak of Kumari saw Major Anup with her.  However, Major Anup allegedly made wrong entry in the garrison’s entry-exit register at the gate.

Major Anita Kumari

He left at 1.15 AM but the entry shows 12.15 AM. Kumari shot herself at around 12.45 AM in the intervening night of December 14-15.

On basis of this entire investigation, police have recommended an FIR be lodged against both Major Anup Kumar and Anubhav Kumar Aggarwal.

It is deceased Kumari’s sister Sunita who is following the case. Since her death, she claims, she is running from pillar to post to get her justice. An employee in the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), she alleges her sister was murdered by Anup.

She almost corroborated police investigations. She said her sister had married Anubhav Kumar Aggarwal, basically a resident of Balliya district in UP. The two, she said, divorced amicably after her sister got closer to Anup. She said Aggarawl was a nice man who was exploring options to re-marry Kumari.

“We have nothing against that nice man,” Sunita said. “The two parted ways amicably and for their separation Anup is primarily responsible. But later, when he backtracked and refused to marry my sister, Anubhav came around to again help Anita recover from this shock.”

Insisting that Anup “ used my sister and then, refused to marry her”, Sunita said the family knew he was with our sister from December 12, to 14, 2016. “Anup left the quarter at around 1.15 AM i.e exactly 30 minutes after killing my sister,” Sunita alleged. “We suspect that it is he who shot my sister. My sister had no reason to commit suicide.”On December 13, 2016, Sunita said Anup and Kumari, both, talked to the family after he promised to marry her. “But at around 10.10 PM on December 15, 2016, the army informed us that Major Anita Kumari had committed suicide. We were shocked to hear this,” Sunita said. “We are surprised how no one heard the gunshot that too in the mid of night when it is completely silent all over the camp.”

In conversation with Kashmir Life, Ms Sunita raised many important questions: How can I believe that army knew nothing about her suicide till late the evening of December 15, 2016?

How could no one suspect something has happened when Anita did not report for the routine duty to the butchery unit? Army rule is that you cannot take leave without informing the unit. “And army tells us, they knew nothing about Anita till a maid knocked at her door and on finding no one responding, informed the unit. This absurd,” she added, insisting, ““Army is trying to cover-up.” Sunita says it took police 44 days and her endless number of visits to the IGP (Jammu) office for registration of an FIR.

Major Anup with his son and wife

“They were reluctant to lodge an FIR,” Sunita said. “They delayed it to the extent that Major Anup Kumar managed to approach court seeking anticipatory bail.”

Police investigators told Kashmir Life that Army was not cooperating with them. Now, they say, they would arrest both Anup and Aggarwal.

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