New Delhi: Lt Gen Surendra K Sahni (retd) of the Army Service Corps (ASC), who was indicted by a court of inquiry for irregularities in procurement of ration items for soldiers posted at Siachen and other high-altitude areas in J&K, was on Friday cashiered from service and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment.
Lt Gen Sahni is the highest ranking military officer to face such ignominy. Casheiring from service would entail the withdrawal of all perks he enjoys as a retired officer of the Indian Army, including pension.
A report by the Controller of Auditor General (CAG) had paved way for action against Sahni. The report revealed that soldiers were supplied wheat, rice, pulses and edible oil past their expiry date. The auditor has also found a serious lack of competition in filing of tenders for the purchase of ration. In fact, it points out that a single vendor bagged contracts for more than 36 per cent of the purchases.
It also says that about-to-expire food items were bought at cheaper rates by contractors and then supplied to army units.
The Army Supply Corps (ASC) spends Rs 1,440 crore every year on rations. It is reported that rations worth Rs 1.92 crore were untraceable in Northern Command as of March 2008.
On July 10, 2010, the summary of evidence was completed; giving recommendations to continue disciplinary action against General Sahni and orders for general court martial were issued. In this regard, a Court of Inquiry which was constituted in 2005 had recommended disciplinary action against him in connection with the case. After his retirement from Army in 2006, the inquiry was initiated.
In order to avoid the legal proceedings, he had claimed to have developed a serious heart problem including a very painful spinal disorder.