MUMBAI (Web Desk) – The Supreme Court of India on Thursday directed the Kerala Police to set up a special investigation team (SIT) headed by a deputy inspector general to probe allegations of wife-swapping among Indian Navy officers which was earlier reported a common practice in the Indian navy.
The applicant, an ex-wife of Indian Naval officer, requested the court to probe the charges and asked the state police to complete the investigation, preferably within three months.
The bench was hearing a petition by an estranged wife of a Naval officer seeking a probe into her FIR alleging that besides her husband, four other Navy officers and the spouse of one of them indulged in wife-swapping, Indian Express reported.
In her petition, she sought transfer of petitions from Kerala to Delhi High Court, claiming the atmosphere was not conducive for the case to progress and reach its judicious end. She also contended that the accused naval officers were influential persons.
However, the court rejected her plea saying that mere apprehension may not be sufficient to transfer the case. It directed Kerala Legal Services Authority to appoint a senior advocate to pursue her case.
The woman, who had married the Navy officer on March 9, 2012, said that their relationship was not very cordial and that she was driven out almost a year later while her husband withheld her identity card, laptop, mobile phone and original marriage certificate.
Later, the woman lodged a complaint against her husband, her parents-in-law and sister-in-law alleging that they had subjected her to physical and mental cruelty. After that, she also levelled the charge of sexual abuse against five naval officers, including her husband, and wife of one of the naval officers, alleging that they indulged in wife-swapping.
“Wife swapping cases off and on occurred secretly in Navy but first time it has been reported in a large scale”, a former Navy officer Sushant Singh told BBC.
In 2013, a story of officer’s wife was published who was molested by her husband multiples times. According to the publication, an IIT-Bombay graduate, Sumedha (name changed) quit her Morgan Stanley career to get married, she was shocked to see her dreams shattered within a few months.
Not only did she witness her Navy officer husband in a compromising position with a senior officer’s wife but was told that she too would have to be part of the “wife-swapping evenings” if she wanted her husband to keep his job.
“When I saw my husband with the other lady I started to cry and question my husband. The woman instead shouted at me, slapped me and threatened me with dire consequences if I did not keep quiet,” the 25-year-old said.
“There are parties everyday and the women wear very revealing clothes. Wife-swapping is common here,” she said.
When asked how she could substantiate her allegations, Sumedha said, “I know what I have seen. There has been a complaint filed earlier about wife-swapping in 2011 on INS Dronacharya but the officers involved were posted out and the issue was buried.”
“I was made to bend down and molested, by three of my husband’s colleagues. My husband then threw me out of the house,” she said.
She added that the only time her husband had shown a little remorse was when he first told her that he had to be a part of the “wife-swapping” or else he would lose his job.
“Officers and sailors, all afraid to come to my rescue because they feared being thrown out of the Navy,” she further stated.