The army on Tuesday initiated disciplinary action against a senior General that could lead to a court martial, while administrative action was started against three other top officers for their role in a land scam in Darjeeling.
Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor had directed Adjutant General Mukesh Sabharwal on Monday to issue notices for taking action against Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, Lt Gen P.K. Rath, Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali and Major General P. Sen after a probe had reportedly held them culpable in the land scam.
Senior army officers said here that disciplinary action was initiated against Lt Gen Rath, who had a major role to play in the issuance of a No Objection Certificate to a private realtor for buying a 70-acre plot adjacent to the Sukna military station near Darjeeling.
Kapoor had on Monday directed Army Adjutant General Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal to initiate the action against the four Generals and accordingly showcause notices were issued to them seeking a reply within 30 days, they said.
Army’s Eastern Command chief Lt Gen V.K. Singh would proceed against Lt Gen Rath, who had also signed a memorandum of understanding with the private realtor for allotment of seats to army personnel’s wards in the school that would be built on the land.
In the case of Lt Gen Prakash, Lt Gen Halgali and Maj Gen P. Sen, the administrative action could lead to any punishment from a minor censure or recording of displeasure in their service records to loss of pension benefits or dismissal from service, the officers said.
The land scam came to light after it became known that the private realtor, Dalip Aggarwal, who is said to be close to Lt Gen Prakash, “falsely” represented to the army that his trust would open an affiliate of the Ajmer-based Mayo College. The trust's brochure also proclaimed that Lt Gen Prakash would join the school as director after his retirement, on the basis of which an army probe reportedly established his involvement in the NOC episode.
If the GOC-in-C of Eastern Command, under whom Lt Gen Rath is posted at present, decides so, then a Summary of Evidence would be ordered after slapping a chargesheet against the latter. This would logically end in a Court Martial, in which Rath would be given an opportunity to defend himself.
Lt Gen Prakash, who is set to retire on January 31, can be punished even after his superannuation as per Army law, which stipulates that action can be initiated up to three years after retirement. The punishment could be loss of pension and other retirement benefits. Gen Prakash, as Military Secretary, is one of the top eight advisors to Gen Kapoor.