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'Butter' brigadier convicted

Guwahati, Jan. 19: After 'ketchup' colonel it is the turn of 'butter' brigadier to batter the Indian army's reputation in the Northeast.

A special CBI court here recently convicted Brig. D.A. Chansarkar of 101 area headquarters, Shillong, for entering into a 'criminal conspiracy' with Col R.K. Khanna of advance base supply depot, Guwahati, and two other civilians in a corruption case.

Both Chansarkar and Khanna were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a year under Section 420 IPC and asked to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 each. In default of payment of the fine, they would have to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another month, CBI counsel Dilip Kumar Das told this correspondent today.

A copy of the court order was made available to the parties on Monday.

The CBI had registered the case against the two officers on June 6, 1991, on the basis of 'source information'. The agency has the right to initiate suo motu investigations into matters involving central government departments.

The allegation was that Brig. Chansarkar had, while working as deputy director (supply and transport) at 101 area headquarters, Shillong, during 1984-1985, along with Col Khanna and others, obtained huge 'pecuniary advantage' by corrupt and illegal means while buying tinned butter for the army.

Investigations revealed that 37.50 metric tonnes of sub-standard butter were purchased at an exorbitant rate of Rs 52 per kg, incurring a loss of Rs 1.91 lakh. It was shown that the purchase was made from M/s M.K. Traders, a firm, which later turned out to be fake. The probe also revealed that the market rate of tinned butter during the period was much lower than Rs 52 per kg.

The charges were framed by the court on September 27, 1996, and the verdict was delivered last month after examining 57 prosecution witnesses.

Two civilians, Mohammad Ayub and Abdul Khalique, who posed as representatives of the fictitious M.K. Traders were also sentenced to a year's rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 each. The verdict was pronounced by special judge, CBI, Guwahati, P.K. Saikia, on December 29.

Recently, Col H.S. Kohli, commanding officer of the 175 Field Regiment of the artillery posted in the army's 57 Mountain Division area in Assam's North Cachar Hills district, was accused of faking evidence to get a commendation.

He had sprayed tomato ketchup on three civilians employed by the army and photographed them to portray them as insurgents who were killed by the regiment's officers and soldiers.

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