At least 59 trainee commandos of the elite CoBRA anti-Naxal and jungle warfare paramilitary unit will face action after they went missing from a train.
The incident left the CoBRA's parent force, the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF), shocked and raised fears of desertion.
An inquiry revealed that the men, who were heading for their first assignment to Bihar, went home midway without permission.
The 59 commandos were part of a group of 300 who underwent six-month training in Srinagar, J&K. Most of them hail from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and were all recruited in 2011. All the men are of constable rank.
The CoBRA commandos were scheduled to board the Sealdah Express on Sunday. They decided to take an early train to Gaya.
"Since they were early... they decided on their own to… visit their homes without permission," the CRPF said.
Once the train reached Mughalsarai, 59 commandos de-boarded as their native places were nearby. They planned to report for duty on February 7 in Gaya.
A head constable was accompanying the commandos. However, they allegedly left without informing him.
In the forces, individual absence without prior approval is common. Such mass bunking though is rare.
"It is a case of unauthorised absence from duty. We have initiated a court of inquiry into the incident…Disciplinary action will be taken against them as per rules," an unnamed senior CRPF official said.
"We have been trying to get in touch with them. In many cases, their mobile phones were found switched off but we spoke to their families asking them to return," said the unnamed CRPF official.
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