Senior officers trying to frame me up in Sukna scam: Rath

Lt Gen P K Rath, indicted in the Sukna land scam and facing a court martial, has alleged that his seniors in the Army were trying a "frame up".

Updated: Feb 14, 2010, 14:13 PM IST

New Delhi: Lt Gen P K Rath, indicted in the
Sukna land scam and facing a court martial, has alleged that
his seniors in the Army were trying a "frame up", though he
had "no relationship" with the private realtor to whom a No
Objection Certificate was issued to buy the land.

Rath, in his petition before the Delhi High Court, also
alleged that his superior officers had "already made up their
mind to frame up", thereby vitiating the court of inquiry
proceedings by sending a clear message to other officers
connected with the probe.

Rath`s seniors involved in the Sukna scam episode in
Darjeeling are Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, who ordered
action against him, Army Chief-designate Lt Gen V K Singh, who
convened the court of inquiry in the case and also attached
him to the Kolkata-based Eastern Command.

His plea to quash the court of inquiry and to be posted
as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff that was scrapped following
the Sukna scam probe, filed on Thursday, will come up for
hearing tomorrow.

"It is an undisputed fact that the petitioner has no
relationship of any kind whatsoever with the private party
interested in establishment of educational institution (near
Sukna military station)," Rath said in the petition papers.

"The superior officers had already made up their mind to
frame up the petitioner. It also clearly vitiated the further
proceedings of the court of inquiry and sent a clear cut
message to the rest of the officers connected with it," he

Rath, who faces a court martial for his involvement in
the Sukna land scam along with former military secretary Lt
Gen Avadesh Prakash, claimed that he had agreed to the
proposal to start the educational institution "in good faith
and purely on the merit of the case."

Rath said he had joined the 33 Corps as its General
Officer Commanding on September 1, 2008, from Lt Gen Deepak
Raj, under whose tenure another private tea estate owner had
taken the same 71-acre land adjacent to Sukna cantonment on a
long term lease from West Bengal government in 2006 to promote
tea tourism.

Since tea tourism consisted of a resort, restaurant and a
place for recreation resulting in free movement of civilian
and tourists, the Army had objected to the project on security
grounds and approached the State government to acquire the
land by cancelling the lease of the private party.

After Rath took over, the Army`s stand of objecting to
transfer of the land for tea tourism by the private party on
security grounds continued.

It was then that the Geetanjali Education Trust (of
realtor Dalip Aggarwal) approached Rath, offering to establish
an educational institution as a franchise of Mayo School in

"The private party also offered that reservation will be
given to the children of the armed forces and the Army should
ensure that security is not compromised," Rath said in the

Rath said he strongly felt "this was a real opportunity
to do something for the troops, beyond usual pep talks" after
he discovered that 62 family quarters of the 250 in Sukna were
vacant due to lack of educational facilities nearby.