Defence Ministry to probe General Deepak Kapoor: Pallam Raju

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Kapurthala (Punjab), Mar 16 : Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju has said that the Defence Ministry will probe all irregularities in procuring the stores for the Army and action will be taken against all those found guilty during the tenure of Army chief General Deepak Kapoor in Jammu and Kashmir as Northern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief.

The Defence Ministry has taken a serious note of the Comptroller and Auditor General report censuring General Kapoor for making frivolous purchases like bush cutters and grass cutting machines during his tenure as Northern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Raju said.

Replying to a question about alleged involvement of five army officials, including a brigadier, who were chargesheeted by Jammu and Kashmir police for siphoning off kerosene and diesel meant for troops in Siachen, he said these were "unfortunate" incidents and action would be taken against the officials found guilty in the inquiry.

He expressed dismay over the depilated condition of the building local Sainik School which was the responsibility of the state government to maintain it.

Asked about his view on the demand of the state government to hand over the building and land to state government for converting it into a luxury hotel, Raju said the Defence Ministry would take a final call on it.

Earlier, a parliamentary committee has censured General Kapoor and other senior officers for spending huge amounts on frivolous purchases like bush-cutters and grass cutting machines from funds allocated for emergency use in counter-insurgency and other special operations.

The Comptroller And Auditor General has censured General Kapoor and three other army commanders for "wrongly exercising financial powers delegated" to them and spending huge funds running into crores of rupees on non-essential purchases.

In a scathing censure of General Kapoor, the CAG said the Army Chief, as the northern army commander in 2005-06, had procured items worth Rs 6.89 crore which were not related to urgent requirements of counter-insurgency operations, internal security duties or in defending Siachen glacier.

"Most of the items purchased were only to facilitate day-to-day routine duties of the army and these were issued to forces which were not actively engaged in anti-militancy operations," the report said.

The CAG has taken strong exception as these funds had been delegated by the Defence Minister under special financial powers to purchase crucial items for meeting immediate requirements of counter-insurgency and similar other operations.

The CAG has also passed strictures against general officers commanding-in-chief of key Western command and South-Western command.

ANI

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