CRIME WATCH: Sukna officer court martial – compromising India’s strategic interests, the Chicken’s Neck situation ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, Aug. 20: A top army general will face a court martial in the Sukna land case.
Lt General P.K. Rath, who was the commander of the 33 Corps headquartered in North Bengal and was named the deputy chief of army staff, is the second officer of such high rank to face a court martial.
The court martial is likely to be convened in the eastern command headquarters in Fort William, Calcutta. The army has found prima facie evidence that he facilitated the transfer of 70 acres adjacent to the Sukna military station to a Siliguri-based realtor.
The court martial will be chaired by another lieutenant general senior to Rath.
The court of inquiry found that the attempted transfer of land was not merely a case of corruption but could also compromise strategic interests.
The land belonged to the Bengal government and it had been offered to the army for security reasons.
“We have concluded the summary of evidence on Lt General P.K. Rath. It has been decided to convene the court martial,” an army headquarters source said.
Lt General Rath would be the second officer of such seniority — and the first from the combat arms — to face a court martial. Rath had gone to the Armed Forces Tribunal challenging the proceedings against him. But the tribunal has decided against intervening at this stage.
The first lieutenant general against whom a court martial was ordered was Surinder Kumar Sahni of the Army Supply Corps. The proceedings are on in Jalandhar.
Rath, who is from the regiment of artillery, was named the deputy chief of army staff but his appointment was cancelled after the court of inquiry.
The army is also likely to take administrative action against a third Lt General Ramesh Halgalli.
Rath can go to the Armed Forces Tribunal if he wants to challenge the court martial’s order.