Former army chief and union minister General VK Singh on Saturday questioned the clean chit given to Lieutenant General PK Rath in the Sukna land case by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and said the government should challenge the order in a higher court.
The AFT had on Friday quashed the general court martial of Rath, who was among the four generals indicted in the controversial Sukna land case. The tribunal also slapped a fine of Rs one lakh on the army for causing loss of reputation and undue harassment to Rath.
“Perhaps through such a judgement, people will not get scared of corruption," said VK Singh, who had initiated action in the Sukna case as Eastern Army commander.
A court martial had found Rath guilty of issuing a 'no-objection certificate' to a businessman for building an educational institution on a 70-acre plot on the fringes of Sukna, near Siliguri in West Bengal. This was allegedly done at the behest of then military secretary Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash.
Rath had alleged in his petition that VK Singh had given "undue importance" to the case as he held a "serious grudge" against General Prakash, who had obtained a commitment from the former chief on his date of birth issue. Prakash was among the generals against whom the army took strict action.
VK Singh said, “Instead of reacting on issues, personal attack has been made. Perhaps, we hardly get to see such a judgment.”
The former chief questioned the AFT’s knowledge of military matters. The PTI quoted him as saying, “The tribunal has an honourable judge who is advised by retired armed forces officers. What advise the armed forces officers give him is what he goes by because he does not know anything about armed forces.”