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Tainted generals face heat

india Updated: Jan 12, 2010 02:31 IST
Rahul Singh

A top army general is likely to face a general court martial while three others are being served show-cause notices for their role in facilitating a dubious land deal near an army base in Sukhna, West Bengal.

Army chief General Deepak Kapoor has ordered disciplinary action against Lieutenant General PK Rath — formerly the commander of a crucial frontline formation. He now faces punishment that could include court martial and jail.

Gen Kapoor has also issued directions to serve show-cause notices for administrative action on three other generals: his Military Secretary Lieutenant General Avadhesh Prakash, 11 Corps commander Lieutenant General Ramesh Halgali and Major General P Sen.

Lt Gen Prakash, however, seemed to have got off lightest, given his key role in the land scam, army sources said. Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General VK Singh had recommended his immediate dismissal.

Prakash retires on January 31. He can still be dismissed but he has been saved the ignominy of a court martial.

The scam involved helping a Siliguri-based businessman Dilip Agarwal acquire 70 acres of land on the fringes of Sukna, near Siliguri in Northern West Bengal. The army probe found that Agarwal had floated an educational society - for which ostensibly he had acquired the land - falsely claiming that it was affiliated the renowned Ajmer-based boarding school, Mayo College. In fact it had nothing to do with Mayo College.

Land transfer near sensitive installations require clearance from the military.

General Rath was commanding Sukna-based Headquarters 33 Corps when a no-objection certificate was given by reversing a previous decision, allegedly at the behest of Prakash.

Rath was to take over as a deputy chief in Army headquarters on November 1 but the defence ministry scrapped his appointment after his name cropped up in the land scam.