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Officer sacked for ketchup deaths (using ketchup to fake gallantry and win medals for bravery)
Sunday Times (South Africa) ^ | Monday November 29, 2004 09:30 - (SA)

GUWAHATI - An Indian army officer has been dismissed and another suspended after a court martial found they splashed tomato ketchup on civilians to make them look like dead separatist rebels, officials say.

An army spokesman said Colonel H.S. Kohli took photos of civilians covered with tomato sauce and posing as corpses and gave them to his senior officers as proof of separatist killings in the revolt-hit northeastern state of Assam.

"The colonel tried to use the photographs to back his claim for a gallantry award and was subsequently tried and found guilty in a court martial," an army spokesman said.

"The colonel lost his job while a major who connived with him was suspended for five years," he said.

The fraud came to light when scrutiny of records following the colonel's claim for a gallantry medal showed no deaths ever occcurred.

"It was indeed bizarre to find him trying to claim a bravery award for the kills, which in fact did not take place at all," the spokesman said.

The colonel's dismissal, which local media reports dubbed the "saucy scandal", is the latest such incident to shake the Indian army.

Last May India's Defence Ministry said Indian troops staged fake battles on the world's highest battleground on the Siachen glacier and made false claims about killing Pakistani soldiers in a bid to win medals.
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