Sukna scam: Prakash’s court martial imminent

The Army is all set to court martial Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash in the Sukna land scam case.

Updated: May 21, 2010, 23:01 PM IST

New Delhi: The Army is likely to court
martial former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash in
the Sukna land scam with an inquiry, ordered by Armed Forces
Tribunal (AFT), reportedly holding him culpable in the case.

Army sources said here today the second round of Court of
Inquiry (COI) ordered by the AFT in February to provide an
opportunity to Prakash to cross examine witnesses had wrapped
up it findings and submitted a report to the headquarters.
Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh forwarded the
probe report along with his recommendations, which were
received yesterday by Adjutant General`s branch that handled
discipline and vigilance matters in the headquarters.

The new COI report, sources said, too indicted Prakash,
who had retired in January 31 this year, just as the earlier
COI ordered by the Army last year had done.

Now the report is being perused by the Judge Advocate
General (JAG) branch, which would analyse the legal points in
the case and later put it up before Army Chief General V K
Singh for a decision.

"The Army Chief is likely to go along with the findings of
the COI and continue with the disciplinary action ordered
against the officer earlier," sources said.

Prakash was one of the top eight advisers of former Army
Chief General Deepak Kapoor, and his involvement, along with
three other General-rank officers, in issuing a No-Objection
Certificate (NOC) to a private realtor to establish an
educational institution on a piece of land adjacent to Sukna
military station came under the army scanner last year.
The initial inquiry, held in Kolkata was completed last
December and General Singh, who was the then Eastern Army
Commander, recommended summary dismissal of Prakash for his
acts of commissions and omissions in the Sukna episode.

However, Kapoor took a contrary view and recommended a
minor administrative action against Prakash, which was
resented by Defence Minister A K Antony, who in an
unprecedented move, advised the then Army Chief to court
martial him.

In January this year, Kapoor reversed his decision on
administrative action and ordered court martial of Prakash
along with former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen P K Rath, while
taking administrative action against 11 Corps Commander Lt Gen
Ramesh Halgali and Major General P C Sen.

This prompted Prakash to approach the AFT, which in
February asked the Army to reconvene the COI and complete it
within two months after providing opportunity to Prakash to
question the witnesses. Later, it provided another six weeks`
time for completing the process.

Gen Singh, who took over as Army Chief on April 1 and is
now the final authority to decided on the action, would in all
likelihood go by the fresh COI findings, sources said.