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Lt Gen Prakash May Face Court Martial In Land Scam Case

PTI 27 Jan 2010, 20:47:55 PM IST
PTI

A top military official, Lt Gen Awadesh Prakash, allegedly involved in the Sukna land scam faces court martial with the Defence Minister A K Antony asking army chief General Deepak Kapoor to initiate disciplinary action against the officer.

"The Defence Minister has advised the army chief to initiate disciplinary action against Lt Gen Prakash (Military Secretary in the army)," highly-placed Defence Ministry sources said here today.

Disciplinary action could lead to a court martial against Lt Gen Prakash, who is in the dock in the scam along with two other Lieutenant Generals and a Major General.

The army chief had earlier ordered administrative action against Gen Prakash wherein the court martial was not a requirement. Prakash was issued a show-cause notice to which he has replied.

 Lt Gen Prakash, considered close to the army chief, would be retiring on January 31.

Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen V K Singh, the army chief designate, had recommended tough action against Lt Gen Prakash and other accused officials on the basis of a Court of Inquiry which indicted them for issuing a no-objection certificate (NOC) for sale of a 71-acre land adjacent to Sukna military station in West Bengal's Darjeeling.

It was not clear as to whether the Defence Ministry has directed similar action against two other officers -- Lt Ramesh Halgali and Maj Gen P C Sen -- who were also allegedly involved in the case.
Earlier, the army chief had recommended disciplinary action only against Lt Gen P K Rath.

Antony had asked General Kapoor to treat all four of them equally while reportedly asking why disciplinary action was not being taken against them for being indicted in the case.

 After receiving the Court Of Inquiry report from the Eastern Command, the army chief had directed Adjutant General Mukesh Sabharwal to issue 30-day show cause notices to Lt Gen Prakash, Lt Gen Rath, Lt Gen Halgali and Maj Gen Sen after a probe had allegedly held them culpable in the land scam.

Disciplinary action was initiated against Lt Gen Rath, who had allegedly played a major role in the issuance of a No Objection Certificate to a private realtor for buying the 70-acre plot.

The land scam came to light after it became known that a private realtor, Dalip Aggarwal, who is said to be close to Lt Gen Prakash, "falsely" represented to the army that his trust would open an affiliate of the Ajmer-based Mayo College.

Meanwhile, the army has named Lt Gen G M Nair to take over as the next Military Secretary when Prakash retires on January 31. At present, Nair is serving as the 9 Corps Commander based in Yol Camp in Himachal Pradesh. PTI