Court martial to be reconvened against Gen Rath

New Delhi: The Army has ordered reconvening of Court Martial, which had awarded a sentence of two-year loss of seniority to Lt Gen PK Rath in Sukna land scam, to look afresh into the charges against him.

The move was justified by Defence Minister AK Antony as a reflection of the government's "determination to fight against corruption" but Rath's lawyer questioned it, saying it raises "doubts over the efficacy and independence" of the military's judicial system.

Eastern Army Commander, the convening authority in the 2008 land scam, has directed the GCM to reconvene on July 11 and look again at the charges against Rath, former 33 Corps Commander, regarding issuance of No-objection Certificate to private builders for constructing an educational institution adjacent to Sukna base, sources said.

The Command has contended that the GCM has not considered the "evidence" properly and asked it to reconsider the charges again at Shillong on July 11, they said.

Rath was facing seven charges but GCM found him guilty on three counts and four other charges including that of 'intent to defraud' were dropped.

Antony, when asked about the reconsideration of the trial against Rath, said,"this shows our determination to fight against corruption."

"This reconvening of the GCM to reconsider its findings raises doubts over the efficacy and independence of Army's judicial system," Rath's counsel Maj SS Pandey said while reacting to the development.

Rath was, on January 22, given a sentence of two-year loss of seniority and 15 years of loss of service for pensionary benefits.