Rath fifth Lt. Gen. to face indiscipline charges

Friday, January 21, 2011

NEW DELHI - Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, who was convicted in a land scam by a court martial Friday, is the fifth three-star army officer to have have faced such action. He is, however, the first serving lieutenant general to be convicted.

Rath, the former 33 Corps Commander, was found guilty on three counts in a scam in which a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) was issued to a private realtor to transfer a 70-acre plot of land adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal’s Siliguri district.

Along with Rath, former Military Secretary Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash too is facing charges of fraud in the Sukna land scam and his court martial will be convened soon.

Apart from these two senior three-star officers, two lieutenant generals of the Army Service Corps (ASC) - S.K. Dahiya and S.K. Sahni - were indicted in two separate cases involving irregularities in the procurement of frozen meat for troops posted in Ladakah and discrepancies in procurement of dry rations, both in early 2007.

While the two ASC officers have retired from service since, Lt. Gen. Dahiya, who was found guilty of irregularities in procurement of frozen meal for troops in Jammu and Kashmir, had to retire from service after the Army’s Northern Commander awarded him a recordable censure.

In the case of Sahni, his court martial proceedings are still in progress since 2008 at the 11 Corps headquarters in Jalandhar, Punjab, though he has retired from service a couple.

Another three-star general to face indiscipline charges is the former Engineer-in-Chief, Lt. Gen. A.K. Nanda, who was accused of sexual assault by the wife of a junior officer during an official visit to Israel last April.

A Court of Inquiry had left off Nanda with a minor “reproof” — or reprimand in common parlance — by the army for acting against service decorum, but the probe report said the charges against him could not be proved conclusively. He too has retired.

In early 2009, two major generals of the Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) - Anand Swaroop and S. P. Sinha - faced separate charges of irregularities in the purchase of stores.

The two officers were in the contention for the top post of Director General of Ordnance Services (DGOS) at Army Headquaters. A third AOC officer was overlooked for promotion in 2007 after he was booked in a disproportionate assets case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had carried out searches and booked Major General Anand Kapoor for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

In another case of sexual harassment, Major General A.K. Lal, who was commanding a division on the Sino-Indian border in Jammu and Kashmir, was found guilty by a military court in 2008 on charges levelled against him by a captain serving under him. Lal was dismissed from service.

In 2006, Major General Gur Iqbal Singh Multani was dismissed from service and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for attempting to smuggle large quantities of liquor meant for army canteens to his hometown. Multani, who last commanded the Bareilly-based 6 Mountain Division, was also stripped of his rank.

The list of officers facing charges of indiscipline and corruption include Major General B.P.S. Mander, who was charged with irregularities in the procurement of dry rations.

Two other major generals - K.T.G. Nambiar and Rana Goswami - were convicted of financial irregularities in a case relating to the Central Command.

–Indo Asian News Service

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