| READY FOR OPE-RATION
New Delhi, July 18: Army headquarters today announced it was punishing two generals and eight other officers after an internal investigation revealed that they were creaming the military procurement system by making money out of pulses (dal).
The army did not identify either of the generals but one is a lieutenant general and the other is a rank junior ' a major general. This is the second time in a year the army has indicted officers of the rank of general.
In October last year, Major General Gur Iqbal Singh was indicted for sending a consignment of army liquor to his village in Punjab from his base in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.
The announcement of action against the two generals and eight other officers today was made after the court of inquiry found evidence of corruption in the procurement of dry rations such as cereals.
There is a separate case against another general on charges that he was involved in the procurement of poultry through suspicious means. The two cases are distinct but are related because the two generals were contenders for the same office four years ago when one pipped the other at the more lucrative post.
Both are currently lieutenant generals and each had made several complaints against the other to army headquarters when it was decided to begin separate investigations into the charges.
The case of “General Dal” goes back several years to when he was brigadier. “General Poultry” is still under investigation.
In the probe into the purchase of dry rations, “General Dal” and a major general are being hauled up. Inspection of purchases was one of the responsibilities of the major general. One of the generals had also moved Delhi High Court about two years ago to seek redress because the proceedings were alleged to be biased.
An army headquarters release this evening said disciplinary action was being taken against one general and five other officers and administrative action against another general and three other officers.
Disciplinary action can mean either summary dismissal or court martial to determine the punishment. Administrative action can mean a note of displeasure from the army chief, a reprimand and/or denial of promotion.
The action would be taken on the recommendations of a court of inquiry that was forwarded by the chief of the Chandimandir-headquartered Western Command, Lt General Daljeet Singh.
The protagonist in the case on which the announcement was made today is Lt General S.K. Sahni. The names and ranks of the other officers, barring the Major General, were not known. Administrative action has been recommended against the major general.
The court of inquiry found certain “ommisions and lapses in the functioning and discharge of duties by various functionaries,” the army statement said.
“As per the ethos of the army”, it said, “...the disciplinary and administrative action as directed will be shortly initiated against the indicted officers”.
The case was initiated first by an anonymous letter that alleged that a cabal of officers had spent army funds to buy more than 1,000 tonnes of pulses and other cereals that were either in excess of requirement or were spurious.
The army’s inquiry into the case of the other Lieutenant General involving the purchase of poultry is likely to be completed shortly.