Monday, January 18, 2010

Is the Army Land Scam Issue Motivated?

Seventy acres of land and an alleged issuance of a no-objection certificate has landed some of India's top generals in a soup.
The land in question is a 70-acre plot close to the Sukna military station in West Bengal.

The allegation is that Military Secretary Avadhesh Prakash, Lieutenant General Ramesh Halgali, Lieutenant General P K Rath and Major General P K Sen facilitated the issuance of a no objection certificate to the Agarwal Geetanjali Education Trust in order to set up an affiliate of Ajmer's wellknown school, Mayo College.

While Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor says that action will be initiated in the case, members of General Rath's family believe the issue is engineered.

Prathap Kumar Rath, General Rath's brother, who is obviously upset with the developments, provides his version of events to's Vicky Nanjappa:

"Both Lieutenant General V K Singh (the Eastern Army commander) and General Deepak Kapoor are well aware of what has happened. Why isn't the media looking into this and letting this drama continue?

"There is talk about a report on this issue. Why has this report not been made available to my brother? A reporter on television waves this report at his viewers. When he can have that report, why can't they give a copy to my brother? I want to ask how this report has come out of the Eastern Command Headquarters? Doesn't it look as though it is stage-managed?

"There is a mass hysteria being created on this issue so that Lieutenant General Singh and General Kapoor are made to look good.

"They speak about national security. If the security of the nation was such a prime concern for these people, then let me tell you that the land was sold in April. Then how come the issue was brought up in September? If it was such a primary concern, why this delay?

"The timing was perfect. The issue cropped up when my brother got his appointment (as deputy chief of the army). Another thing that I would like to point out here is that there was no communication on this issue sent to the 33 Corps. When that is the scenario, how can they even speak of national security? Moreover this is a school, how can it pose a security risk?

"I don't know what Lieutenant General Singh has against my brother and why he is picking on him. I wish I had the opportunity to have a one on one with him and get things sorted out. He speaks of military discipline. Let everyone remember that the army is not above the Constitution.

"We will go all out in our fight and we will not buckle down to the order of the court of inquiry. This is not a full court in the first place. Moreover, we do not trust the findings since it is headed by two major generals. Obviously these people would report to their superiors and what justice can we expect?

"My brother is a disciplined officer and this has gone against him. I don't know exactly why they are targeting him. I am unaware of any personal enmity too.

"However I must warn that I am ready to bite the bullet to get justice for my brother and I also want to say that no information regarding this case has been made available to us fully. I have a right to know what is happening.

"Lieutenant General Singh may become army chief and no one in the army is ready to counter him and hence my brother will suffer in the bargain.

"We, however, have a legal course worked out. The moment we are served with a notice, we will move the civil courts and also take this matter right up to the Supreme Court. It is these courts that we trust in.

"I really don't know what sort of a game is being played over here. I can only say that my brother is just a casualty. He has been made to suffer since he is a good officer. I only want to assure him that he is not alone and has 11 siblings who will fight tooth and nail for him."

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