Sukna scam: Indicted Lt General dissatisfied with CoI

Indicted by an Army probe in the Sukna land scam, former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash on Friday voiced his dissatisfaction at the Court of Inquiry for not being given enough opportunity to defend himself.

New Delhi: Indicted by an Army probe in the
Sukna land scam, former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh
Prakash on Friday voiced his dissatisfaction at the Court of
Inquiry for not being given enough opportunity to defend
himself.

"Yes. The COI is a fact-finding body and the Army Rule
180 allows the defence to produce witnesses also. The COI has
allowed the prosecution to produce 22 witnesses and I have not
been allowed to call a single witness," he told agency here.
Prakash said this when asked for his response to the
reconvened CoI and whether it was unfair to him in the case.

"The defence should also be allowed to call its
witnesses to support their case. If the prosecution summons
100 people as its witnesses, then would I not be allowed to
call any one of them as my witness?," he added.

Prakash also raised questions over the rejection of his
plea by the Army to summon his realtor friend Dilip Agarwal as
his witness in the COI.

"Are they trying to hide and shield something by not
allowing him(Agarwal) to appear as my witness,?" he asked.

Citing Dilip Agarwal in the COI as his witness, Prakash
said he was not linked with the case after the then 33 Corps
Commander Lt Gen P K Rath declined his request regarding the
proposal of Agarwal, who after that worked on his own to get
the required permission.
"On February 06, 2009, there was a meeting of the West
Bengal government to take a call on the issue. Do you think I
could have influenced the West Bengal government also.

"That is why I want to produce Dilip Agarwal as witness
because he has been in touch with the 33 Corps and the West
Bengal government since then. He is the man who can bring
evidences to the fore," he said.

Army`s COI had blamed Prakash for influencing the
former 33 Corps Commander for issuing the NoC and Agarwal is
alleged to have benefitted by them by getting permission to
build an educational institute on a 70-acre land adjacent to
the Sukna military station in West Bengal.

Asked if General V K Singh, who as the Eastern Army
Commander had reportedly recommended his dismissal, would be
fair to him as Army chief, Prakash said, "I would not like to
comment on that but I would say that in that position one is
expected to be objective."

On further action to be taken by the Army in his case,
he said, "whatever the action be, let us face it. I have
not heard anything from the Army. Its only the media which has
been saying that Summary of Evidence will now be recorded."

PTI

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