A general court martial (GCM) at Ambala has acquitted a major-rank officer of two counts of corruption. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had pursued this case before handing it over to the army.
On August 20, 2010, major Vikalp Purohit, then posted with General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF), was arrested from Koksar on the Manali-Leh road. One of the charges was that he earned by selling off the army diesel, as in this regard, `23,000 was recovered from his office. The second allegation was that he had loaned 1,200-litre diesel to road contractor Sahdev Sharma.
The Western Army commander did not allow the prosecution to put the major on trial. The major's counsel, colonel SK Aggarwal (retd), has said that in the army commander's opinion, no case was made out since "in a difficult terrain, it was their (army's) duty to provide help". After that, in June 2012, the CBI submitted the final report to the sessions judge in Shimla and the case was handed over to the army. The major was then tried at a GCM at Ambala where CBI superintendent of police R Upasak was among the prosecution witnesses.
The order of acquittal came last week. On the reasons for acquittal, colonel Aggarwal said: "We proved that `23,000 was never recovered from him, but planted by the CBI in his absence. No search and seizure memo was made. The CBI claimed that no power was there to prepare the memo but we proved that the situation was otherwise."
Regarding the second accusation of giving away diesel on loan, the major's counsel said: "We proved that the permission for it was given by the officer in charge of GREF, in public interest, and not major Purohit." He claimed that there was a video of the incident but during the GCM proceedings, a fake footage made after the incident had been produced.