Pune:  The Army on Wednesday ordered a Court of Inquiry into the last night incident in which two of its officers from the College of Military Engineering (CME) allegedly clashed with local police even as it blamed the cops for their "aggressive and abusive" behaviour for the overall provocation.

"The concerned officers, Captain V Advait and Lt A B Pandit, have been debarred from leaving CME premises. The HQ CME is in liaison with the local Police authorities", an official statement issued on Wednesday said.
Giving a detailed version of the incident and claiming that local police were "aggressive and abusive", a Defence release said, "In an unfortunate incident which occurred at around 1930 hrs on January 31 at Sambhaji Bridge, there was an altercation between two young Army officers undergoing a course at the CME with the local police".
"Capt V Advait with Lt A B Pandit as his pillion was riding his motorcycle to the market and passed through Sambhaji Bridge. Since the bridge was not open to two-wheelers (of which the young officers were unaware due to no prominent signposting) they were stopped at the end of the bridge by a lady traffic constable at around 1930 hrs, asked to park the bike to a side and pay the required fine to which they agreed".

"With the bike parked aside, as they introduced themselves as Army Officers, the lady constable took away the keys of the bike while a second male constable started abusing Capt Advait roughing and manhandling him by stating that since he was once roughed up for travelling without helmet in Army area, he would do the same".

"Meanwhile, other police personnel started converging at the location. The officers informed their course-mates regarding the incident. Senior instructors of the course were also informed about the incident. The officers' course mates arrived at about 2010 hrs and went inside the police station to the constable. Realising that the constable was still aggressive and continuously abusive, the officers also had an exchange of words with the constable".

"Senior police officers arrived at about 2040 hrs and within a span of few minutes the military police also arrived. Four of the instructors arrived at the scene at about 2100 hrs and took control of the situation by about 2130 hrs. The officers were told to vacate the area which they complied," the statement said.

The Army also maintained that the local people and the media gathered outside the police station tried to "heckle and obstruct" its officials when they were being dispersed by local police and Military Police.
"The media was trying to get information and clicking photos which were objected to by the officers. The media and locals started heckling and obstructing them while the police and military police were trying to disperse the officers. The officers were dispersed by around 2200 hrs," it added.

Earlier, a Southern Command spokesman said that the authorities would not tolerate any case of indiscipline and strict action would be taken against those found involved. The high drama involving the CME officers and local police at the busy Sambhaji Bridge and Alka Talkies square last night led to a tense situation. Police alleged that the Army men vandalised the chowki and beaten up the constables inside.

Reacting immediately after the fracas, Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Jadhav had said they were CME jawans who abused and assaulted police constables.

Meanwhile, police have registered a case against the two CME officials under sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), section 147 (punishment for rioting) and section 143 (for being a member of unlawful assembly) of IPC besides under the Motor Vehicle Act.

A cameraman whose equipment was allegedly damaged by the accused officers too lodged a complaint with police under section 395 (dacoity) and section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC.