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Rediff.com  » News » Land scam: Probe against three Generals still in progress, says Army

Land scam: Probe against three Generals still in progress, says Army

December 01, 2009 22:09 IST
The Army on Tuesday said its Court of Inquiry into the alleged scam involving a private land adjacent to Sukhna military station near Darjeeling was 'still in progress' and no conclusions have been drawn in the probe against the three Lieutenant Generals being questioned in the fraud.

It also said that 'speculative comments/interferences' at this stage about 'the guilt' of an individual was not appropriate.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju told mediapersons in New Delhi that the defence ministry had already directed the Army to probe the scam and take appropriate decisions.

The COI, convened under 4 Corps commander Lt Gen K T Parnaik in Kolkata, had questioned Army Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, Deputy Chief Lt Gen P K Rath and 11 Corps Commander Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali in connection with the 70-acre land for which the 33 Corps headquarters in Sukhna issued a No-Objection Certificate so that it could be sold to a private institution which posed as an affiliate of the Ajmer-based Mayo College.

"Certain media reports have appeared regarding ongoing Court of Inquiry in Sukhna Land issue of Eastern Command. Since the Court of Inquiry is still in progress and not finalised, therefore speculative comments/interferences at this stage about the guilt of an individual is not appropriate," Army PRO Col S Om Singh said in a clarification.

"It should also be understood that it amounts to character assassination of senior army officers. Premature trials and verdicts by the responsible media should be avoided," Om Singh said in the statement.

When asked if the three Lt Gens deposed before the COI, Om Singh said they were questioned during the probe because they had involvement in the NOC episode 'as the file had gone through them as they were in the chain of command at Sukhna military station' when the land was sold.

Meanwhile, Raju, speaking to mediapersons in Parliament House, said, "Whenever there is irregularity in any procedure or any of the functioning, the service looks into the matter and take appropriate steps. The ministry had directed the Army to look into the matter and they will take appropriate decisions."

Lt Gen Prakash, as one of the top eight Generals in the headquarters, is an advisor to Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor on promotions and postings of officers.

Lt Gen Rath was all set become the Deputy Chief of the Army, but his posting has been put on hold till the probe is completed.

The Army COI probed allegations that the Generals and other senior officers had issued a NOC to the Dilip Aggarwal Geetanjali Education Trust, much against an earlier objection due to security issues.

Its report is awaited in the Army headquarters before disciplinary or administrative action against them is decided.

Moreover, the trust, for which Prakash was lobbying, was found to have no connection with the Mayo College, the pretext under which the NOC was obtained.

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