The Armed Forces Tribunal on Monday stayed court martial proceeding against retired military secretary Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash in the Sukna land scam.
The court martial, ordered against Prakash after his indictment by a court of inquiry (COI), was to start on February 25 in Kolkata.
A two-member tribunal bench quashed the findings of the COI, which had indicted Prakash for using his official position to pressure the staff of the 33, Corps — based in Sukna, West Bengal — to facilitate the transfer of a plot of land to his family friend, Dilip Agarwal.
The Bench ordered a fresh CoI, to be completed within two months.
Observing that army rule was “violated” during the COI, the Bench said Prakash would get the chance to cross-examine the six witnesses who deposed against him. “It will be open to the petitioner to lead any evidence by calling witness or producing documentary evidence,” it said.
The issue of cross-examination was a major plea of the retired officer against the COI.
“The court has given us a fair chance to defend ourselves. We have been falsely implicated,” Jyoti Singh, counsel for Prakash, said.