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Officer shift order for NDA probe

New Delhi, July 4: Defence minister A.K. Antony has ordered the transfer of the commandant of the National Defence Academy after a scam that has cast a shadow on the alma mater of armed forces’ officers.

Defence ministry spokesperson N. Ao said Lt Gen. Jatinder Singh was being moved out “to ensure a free and fair investigation in the alleged bribery racket”.

Armed forces officers are agitated over the slur cast on them by newspaper headlines on the NDA recruitment scam that have given the mistaken impression that the selection of cadets was rigged.

The CBI is in fact probing allegations that bribes of Rs 3 lakh to 4 lakh were paid to the staff officer of the commandant and other officers for recruitment of civilians as cooks, gardeners, laboratory attendants and orderlies in the academy.

Lt Gen. Jatinder Singh’s staff officer, Colonel Kulbir Singh, and five others were arrested by the CBI last month.

The decision to transfer the commandant was taken after chief of the integrated defence staff, vice-admiral Shekhar Sinha met defence minister A.K. Antony.

All officers on permanent commission in the army, navy, and the air force pass out from the NDA. They are recruited as cadets after rigorous written exams and physical tests immediately after completing Higher Secondary.

Last week, the CBI also arrested the NDA’s establishment officer Suhas Shankar Waghmare. Waghmare is also suspected to have accepted bribes to recruit 15 candidates in Group C posts at the academy.