Nearly 25 years after irregularities were committed, a CBI Special Court handed out a two-year jail term to a retired Major General and a one-year sentence to his subordinate, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, in a corruption case relating to procurement of tinned meat for Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka during 1987-1988.
In 1987, IPKF was deployed in Sri Lanka for ‘Operation Pawan’ to disarm militant groups. Later, when the mission turned out to be a war, the strength of troops was raised from 6,000 to 1,00,000 within a short span of time. The case was that the military officers exploited the situation in Sri Lanka where the army could not procure enough food for the troops and had to buy tinned meat to sustain the operation. The procurement and supply of food was entrusted with Major General Anand Kumar Gupta, Army Supply Corps, Southern Command, Pune.
A.K.Gupta and two other officers ordered the purchase of meat tinned ‘kheema’ from a private company, Costa and Co, Margao, contrary to the recommendations of panel of officers to call for tenders. They allowed Supply Depot, Margao to make local purchase from the private company and despatch the same to Supply Depot Madras in army vehicles, resulting in a huge loss by way of transportation and food costs to government.Thus, 83 tonnes of meat valued at Rs.61 lakh was purchased by Supply Depot, Margao from the private company.
A.K.Gupta was taken into custody by the army a day before his retirement in 1990. When he, along with Brigadier A.L.Malhotra, Deputy Director of Army Supply Corps were about to face Court Martial proceedings on the case, Gupta escaped from the custody of an armed escort in Chennai. Malhotra was convicted and, as a consequence, was prematurely retired from service on the orders of army headquarters. Later, Gupta was nabbed in Andhra Pradesh. CBI, which investigated the case, found Gupta and S.S. Kadian, then Major at the Supply Depot, Margao, guilty of having entered into criminal conspiracy. It was also found that they abused their official position in favouring the private company by surpassing the procedure in local purchase scheme. Convicting them for the offences, K. Paramaraj, XIV Additional Special Judge for CBI cases held that the prosecution proved its case that Gupta and Kadian had misused their position to favour a private company and thereby caused loss to the government.