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Sukna case: Army gets 6 more weeks to complete all process

The Armed Forces Tribunal has granted a six-week extension to the Army to complete "all the process" in the Sukna land scam case, a week after the two-month deadline given by it lapsed.



New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal has granted a six-week extension to the Army to complete "all the process" in the Sukna land scam case, a week after the two-month deadline given by it lapsed.

The Tribunal yesterday also allowed former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, against whom a Court of Inquiry (COI) in the case was recently completed at the
Eastern Army Command, to leave Kolkata.

Agreeing with the Army`s reasons for not being able to complete the proceedings in the case within the given time-frame, the two-member Bench headed by Justice A K Mathur
said, "As matter has been litigating before the Honourable Supreme Court, therefore, direction given by this Tribunal to dispose of the matter within time-frame could not be done.

"Let the respondents (Army) complete all the process within further six weeks," it said.

While ordering reconvening of the COI against Prakash in the Sukna land scam case on February 22, the Tribunal had given two months time to Army to complete the proceedings and allowed the former Military Secretary to cross-examine six witnesses, who had deposed against him in the case without being cross-examined.

After the AFT order, Prakash had petitioned the Supreme Court to quash the proceedings against him in the case, which was rejected.
Granting permission to Prakash to leave Kolkata, the Tribunal said, "Since the COI is complete, no useful purpose will be served in detaining delinquent Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash at Kolkata. He may be permitted to leave Kolkata and may be summoned back at any time by the respondents/applicant (Army) for further proceeding of the matter as and when required."

The six witnesses cross-examined by Prakash are Lt Gen P K Rath, Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, Maj Gen P C Sen, Col NK Dabas, Lt Col Jiji Verghese and Naib Subedar Surjit Singh.
Four generals including Lt Gen Prakash, Lt Gen Rath,, Lt Gen Halgali and Maj Gen Sen were indicted by a COI for their roles in issuing no-objection certificates to private realtors to build educational institutions at a 70-acre plot of land adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal.

PTI

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