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Sukna school dream endures

Four army generals are paying the price for allegedly pushing the vested agenda of Siliguri realtor Dilip Agarwal in the Sukna land case in West Bengal. But the man responsible for their fate is not giving up his dreams of building a residential school for girls.

delhi Updated: Feb 01, 2010 00:22 IST
Rahul Singh

Four army generals are paying the price for allegedly pushing the vested agenda of Siliguri realtor Dilip Agarwal in the Sukna land case in West Bengal. But the man responsible for their fate is not giving up his dreams of building a residential school for girls.

Agarwal said his four daughters were an inspiration for his dream project.

He allegedly exploited his connections with military secretary Lieutenant General Avadhesh Prakash, whose court martial was ordered last week on the unprecedented intervention of defence minister AK Antony, to get 71 acres in Chumta tea estate near the Sukna military station.

Agarwal told HT from Siliguri, “I had to slog to get my four daughters admitted to boarding schools. I may not be able to build a school near Sukna, but I will now look for land somewhere else. I will never let go of that dream.”

An army probe found Agarwal had falsely claimed that his Geetanjali Education Trust was affiliated to Mayo College, Ajmer.

Prakash, who retired on Sunday, had visited the tea estate on October 18, 2008, and introduced Agarwal as a “family friend” to then 33 Corps commander Lt Gen. P.K. Rath, who also faces a court martial.

Even so, Agarwal remains favourably disposed towards building a girls’ school near a military station. “If they allow, I certainly will. Now I may have to hunt for land outside Bengal,” he said.

Agarwal has obviously not read the army’s court of inquiry report into the Sukna scam. The inquiry concluded: “Activities of Dilip Agarwal and his associates need to be verified so as to prevent them from exploiting the army formations and units in future, especially in 33 Corps.”

He said, “I don’t wish to comment on the inquiry’s findings or my relations with General Prakash. All I have to say is that Prakash is a good human being.”

Antony said on Sunday that corruption in the armed forces would not be tolerated. He said the Sukna case was an aberration.

Prakash had flatly denied that he had any official dealings with Agarwal.