Lieutenant General Rath withdraws petition from the Armed Forces Tribunal

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (ANI): The former commander of 33 Corps, Lieutenant General P K Rath withdrew his petition from the Armed Forces Tribunal against his court martial in the Sukhna Land Scam on Thursday.

Justifying the move, Lt. Gen. Rath's counsel, Ajit Singh, said his client withdrew the petition as the tribunal has already ordered a reconvening of the court of inquiry (COI) in the case allowing former Military Secretary Lieutenant General (retd) Avadesh Prakash to cross examine six witnesses.

"During the COI and the cross-examination by Prakash, we will also get the opportunity to present our side. So, we will wait for the outcome of the COI and then take further decision," said Singh.

Asked if the reconvening of the COI would delay court martial proceedings against him also, Singh said, "Nothing can proceed until the COI is over as we are also part of it."

Singh however said, the petition could be filed again after the COI proceedings in the case are over.

Earlier this month, Rath's petition in the Delhi High Court was dismissed on a jurisdiction issue following which he had moved the Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal.

Rath's lawyer claimed that Singh's petition filed before the Armed Forces Tribunal was similar to the one filed before the Delhi High Court.

Earlier, in December 2009, the Eastern Army Command chief, Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, had recommended a summary dismissal for Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash.

The report also recommended initiating proceedings against Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, whose appointment as deputy chief of army staff has been scrapped by the Defence Ministry.

It was reportedly learnt that General Kapoor"s action came after coming under severe pressure by the Defence Minister A K Antony.

The proceedings of the Court Martial will also be initiated against Lt. Gen P K Rath, and Maj. Gen P C Sen, who were also allegedly indicted by the CoI report.

The Sukhna land scam involved the sale of civilian land adjacent to the Sukhna military station near Darjeeling.

The court of inquiry into the Sukhna land scam case, in which three other Army generals have been indicted, holds Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash responsible for allegedly hiding information and taking undue interest in promoting the vested agenda of real estate developer and family friend Dilip Agarwal. (ANI)

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