Sukna scam accused wants Army Chief to be summoned as witness

Lt Gen PK Rath, who is facing court martial in the Sukna land scam, has pleaded that Army Chief Gen VK Singh should be summoned as a witness.

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2010, 15:59 PM IST

New Delhi: Lt Gen PK Rath, who is facing court martial in the Sukna land scam, has pleaded that Army Chief Gen VK Singh should be summoned as a witness, arguing
that he was subjected to "biased" action aimed at preventing him from becoming the Deputy Chief of Army Staff.

In his submission before the General Court Martial (GCM) being held in Shillong, Rath has contended that there were various discrepancies in the case and the Court of Inquiry
(COI), on the basis of which the Court Martial was ordered against him, had been convened because of "evil design".

He alleged that "every authority who has dealt (with) the matter so far has abdicated their statutory duty and obligation by giving up to the whims of some individual with
misplaced perception and preconceived notions about the matter," said the petition moved by his counsel Maj SS Pandey.

Rath, the former Commander of West Bengal-based 33 Corps, is being tried for granting NoC for construction of an educational institute on a piece of 70 acre land adjacent to
Sukna Army base. He is among three Lt Generals and a Major General to be indicted by the CoI.

In the petition, Rath contended that the proceedings against him reflected "biased and unreasonable conduct of the authority in the name of discipline which has no justification
whatsoever".

He contended that the case against him was pressed by the authorities to stop him from becoming the Deputy Chief of Army Staff.

Rath pleaded that Gen Singh, who was then the Eastern Commander and had ordered the CoI, should be summoned as a witness in the case to enable the GCM to take "legally
appropriate decision".

Giving his point of view, Rath said that on April 1, 2009 he had discussed granting NOC with Gen Singh but no action was taken for the next six months till his appointment
as Deputy Army Chief was announced.

"The pertinent point to consider in the matter is that if the authorities were of the opinion that serious offence has been committed as being made out now what they were doing
for six months," Rath argued.

Along with Gen Singh, he also wanted Lt Gen Munish Sibal, 11 Corps Commander, and Lt Gen PK Goel, the then Chief of Staff at Eastern Command, to be called by GCM as witnesses.

PTI