A colonel of the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) Corps, facing 24 charges at a General Court Martial (GCM) in Udhampur for intent to defraud in procurements worth `52 lakh and exacting money from people without authority amounting to `14 lakh, has blamed rivalry between his superiors behind his trial.
In a petition before the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Colonel Rajesh Mehta claimed that Maj Gen S Bhattacharya and Maj Gen Shyam Srivastava of the EME had a professional rivalry and Bhattacharya was looking for an opportunity to sideline the latter for his promotion.
He added that Maj Gen Bhattacharya in collusion with a Lieutenant Colonel got anonymous and pseudonymous complaints filed which led to a Court of Inquiry indicting him. He has prayed for quashing of chargesheet against him.
Colonel faces charges of intent to defraud
The chargesheet says in March 2012 while commanding 14 EME battalion, Colonel Mehta allegedly directed false billing of `8.15 lakh for field workshop. From September 2010 to July 2012, he allegedly created an unauthorised fund in his battalion in which money was received by way of profits generated from Sainik Institute, sale of surplus LPG cylinder, commission from suppliers of liquor to unit CSD and margin money received from the dealers supplying to IT stores. He also allegedly got split the cost of Epoxy Flooring from November 2011 to February 2012, amounting `13.06 lakh and of paint booth amounting `8.91 lakh between November and December in 2011.
Also, he allegedly got split the cost of Wheel Aligner amounting to `11.69 lakh between October 2011 and November 2011 and of PVC curtains amounting to `1.65 lakh between August 2011 and December 2011 to bring the procurement under his financial powers.
The list of charges also mentioned that with intent to defraud, he allegedly split the cost of two post lift amounting `1.68 lakh in December 2011 and communication exchange costing `2.69 lakh during January 2012, wheel balancer amounting `2.39 lakh during October 2011, software development costing `2.16 lakh during March 2012.
Also, he allegedly between March to July in 2012 caused disappearance of CSD liquor commissioner register and a clearance certificate obtained by a Major to firms where in endorsements regarding outstanding amount of `8.5 lakh was made.
He allegedly during March 2012 exacted without proper authority `4 lakh from civilian dealers for getting renovation work done in the unit and also `10.44 lakh from firms between May 2011 and March 2012.
He allegedly, between May 2011 and February 2012, forwarded incorrect expenditure reports and returns to headquarters Northern Command.