Tuesday 16 July 2019, 06:04 AM
Scams that rocked defence ministry since 2007
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 3/26/2012 12:00:00 AM
Scams that rocked defence ministry since 2007

New Delhi :  Army chief General V.K. Singh Monday dropped a bombshell by revealing that a retired lieutenant general had offered him a bribe of Rs.14 crore (Rs.140 million) for approving the supply of 600 sub-standard vehicles to the army.

He also made it clear that he had brought the matter to the notice of Defence Minister A.K. Antony soon after the offer was made to him. With Antony now ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into Gen.

Singh s allegation, here is a low-down on some of the scams that rocked the defence ministry since 2007 and the outcome of the investigations. Adarsh Housing Society scam: The case involves top armed forces officers and defence estate officers issuing a no-objection certificate to Adarsh Housing Society, comprising retired and serving personnel, to build a 31-storey housing complex with 104 flats.

The building came up on a 6,450 square metre plot of land inside a high security naval campus in upscale Colaba area of Mumbai. Originally proposed as a housing scheme for widows of Kargil martyrs, it later came to light that politicians, bureaucrats and senior defence officers including three former army and navy chiefs had got flats allotted to them by misusing their official positions.

It also came to light that several norms relating defence land had been violated including issuing of no-objection certificates to enable the construction of the housing society. The scam hit headlines in 2009 and later, the probe was handed over to the CBI, which has last week arrested several former armed forces officers including a retired major general and a brigadier . Among those named as part of the beneficiaries of the housing society were former army chiefs Gen. Deepak Kapoor and Gen. N.C. Vij, and former navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh.

The three officers, after their names became public as Adarsh beneficiaries, returned the flats. Sukna land scam: Two senior lieutenant generals and a major general were named in converting a 70-acre land adjacent to Sukna military station in Siliguri of West Bengal into an educational institution by handing it over to a private trust. The controversy involved issuing of no-objection certificate for the private trust to buy the land for construction of the educational institution on the condition that wards of army personnel from Sukna military station too would get to study there.

Then army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor s military secretary Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash and then 33 Corps commander Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath were court martialled in the case and punished for their involvement in the alienation of the 70-acre land that was originally a tea estate. The court martial had dismissed Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash from service after finding him guilty in the case. Ration Supplies Scam: The case of a scam in ration supplies to army personnel in high altitude areas broke out in 2007 and then Army Service Corps chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Sahni was found guilty in the case in 2011 and dismissed from service.

Sahni had retired from service when he was court martialled and cashiered from service. Frozen Meat Scam: Another Army Service Corps top officer, Lt. Gen. S.K. Dahiya, was also indicted in a separate case involving irregularities in the procurement of frozen meat for troops posted in Ladakh and discrepancies in procurement of dry rations in early 2007.

Dahiya is now retired from service, though he was awarded a recordable censure by the Northern Army commander for the offences. Ordnance Factory Board scam: The defence ministry, earlier this month, debarred six defence firms -- four of them foreign -- from any future deals with Indian ordnance factories for the next 10 years, after they were named in a graft case involving former Ordnance Factory Board director general Sudipto Ghosh.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which investigated the case, had filed a charge sheet against Ghosh in June 2010 in Kolkata and recommended the blacklisting of the firms -- Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Switzerland s Rheinmetall Air Defence, Corporation Defence Russia, New Delhi-based T.S. Kishan and Company Private Limited and Ludhiana-based R.K. Machine Tools Limited.

 

Bribe offer shocked me out of wits: Army chief

New Delhi : Indian Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh, in a televised interview telecast Monday, said the "bribe offer" had left him "dumbfounded" and he could not lodge a police complaint against the briber because it was an "indirect method".

"If a person who has just retired, a few days ago, and tells you while talking on different issues that you will get this thing and when you have not heard something like this, it will leave you dumbfounded. You won''t understand what this person is saying. And that is what happened," Singh said in a recorded interview to Chauthi Duniya, an internet news portal.

Asked why he didn''t lodge a police complaint which he could have done because Military Police was always around, the army chief said: "You may be right that I should have complained against him. But at that time the way (the bribe was offered), for a while I could not understand what he was saying. It was not like he was giving me bribe in my hand.

"He was telling me that if you clear this file you will get this much of the amount, everybody takes it, what is your problem. In a way it was an indirect method of saying. And that is why he could not be arrested."

The general said he told the former officer to leave his room and shared the incident with Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

"I went and told the defence minister that this is the situation. He beat his forehead and told me that we should keep these people out," said the chief who is to retire May 31.

The sensational revelation by the army chief was first reported by The Hindu newspaper following which Antony ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations that he was offered a bribe of Rs.14 crore (Rs. 140 million).

Defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told IANS here that the minister gave the orders after seeing reports of the army chief''s claim in this regard.

"Just imagine, these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if i cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs. 14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me," the army chief told The Hindu.

The newspaper said the lobbyist offered him the bribe in order to have a tranche of 600 substandard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase.

 

Antony orders probe into army chief''s allegation

New Delhi :  Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into army chief Gen V.K. Singh''s allegations that he had been offered a bribe of Rs.14 crore.

"It is a serious allegation, I have already taken action," Antony told reporters outside parliament. But he refused to say what action had been taken and pointed out that parliament session was on.

Defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told IANS here that the minister gave the orders after seeing reports of the army chief''s claim in this regard.

The army chief told The Hindu Monday that a lobbyist offered him a bribe of Rs.14 crore to have a tranche of 600 substandard vehicles cleared for purchase.

"Just imagine, these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if I cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs.14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me," the army chief said.

The army chief also added that the defence minister was apprised of the matter.

 

Army chief''s revelation very serious: BJP

New Delhi :  The government is neckdeep in corruption, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Monday, calling "very serious" army chief Gen. V.K. Singh''s allegation that he had been offered a bribe to clear a tranche of 600 substandard vehicles.

Party MP Prakash Javadekar said revelations by the army chief were "very serious".

Javadekar, a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha, said he had given a notice for suspension of question hour to raise the issue.

"The government is neckdeep in corruption...The UPA has lost the right to continue even for a day," Javadekar told television channels.

The army chief told The Hindu newspaper in an interview that he was shocked after a lobbyist offered him a Rs.14 crore bribe for the purchase of a tranche of substandard vehicles.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said he had not seen the newspaper report but the government would look into the matter.

"The army chief has made certain averments. The government will look into it. If required, the government will come with a response," Tewari told a TV channel.

 

 

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Antony orders probe into army chief's allegation

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