New Delhi, Sept. 20: The Supreme Court today stayed all investigations into the navy wife-swapping case after the purported whistleblower, the estranged wife of a naval officer, sought a CBI probe.
She alleged Kochi police, with whom the case is registered, and the naval authorities were harassing her instead of acting on her charges of rampant wife swapping in the navy and gang rape.
While staying both the police and naval investigations, the bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi sought the Centre’s response on the plea for a CBI probe.
Kamini Jaiswal, counsel for the petitioner, told the bench the Kochi police and navy were treating the case as a matrimonial dispute to protect the navy’s image.
According to the petition, the police have not filed rape charges but only the charges of cruelty by husband, outraging a woman’s modesty, criminal intimidation and common intention.
The 26-year-old petitioner’s allegations of wife-swapping had created a stir in April this year, and defence minister A.K. Antony had promised a detailed probe.
She had also alleged she was gang-raped by a group of officers in February at the behest of her husband after she caught him in a “compromising position” with the wife of a commanding officer..
“The respondent husband on many occasions compelled the petitioner to participate in the ‘wife-swapping’ parties that were being held and when she refused, she was tortured mentally and physically by the respondent No. 2 (husband),” says the petition.
“One day, after returning home early fromů the local market, (the petitioner) found her husband in a compromising position with the wife of a commanding officer.”
It adds: “Thereafter, she was threatened by the wife of the superior officer and her husband and attempts were made to brand the petitioner mad. When the petitioner tried to complain to the Commander-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, she was cornered and harassed.”
The petition says the complainant was “not subjected to medical examination, nor were the culprits taken into custody or medically examined or crucial piece(s) of evidence such as the clothes and other articles taken into possession”.
It attributes the police’s “lackadaisical approach” to an intention to “defeat the petitioner’s case”. It alleges that the board of inquiry set up by the navy is “biased and prejudiced against the petitioner and is merely an eye-wash”.
The petition accuses the Union home ministry of being party to alleged efforts at a cover-up by painting the matter as a domestic dispute.