New Delhi, Feb 25: In the latest update on the Sukhna land scam, Lt Gen PK Rath, former commander of 33 Corps of the Army, has withdrawn petition against his court martial from the Armed Forces Tribunal on Thursday, Feb 25.
Rath's counsel Ajit K Singh said that his client has decided to withdraw the petition following the Tribunal's order to reconvene the Court Of Inquiry (COI), in which the six witnesses will be cross examined by Lt Gen (retd) Avadesh Prakash, former military secretary.
"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," he said in a news agency report.
When asked whether the court martial proceeding would be delayed due to the reconvening of the COI, Singh said that everything is subject to COI.
"Nothing can proceed until the COI is over as we are also part of it," he said adding that a petition would be filed after the proceeding if required.
Rath's petition against his court martial was earlier dismissed by the Delhi High Court, calling it a jurisdiction issue.
In his petition, Rath said that he had been singled out in the case and the "offence" against him had been "prejudged".
Following the Delhi High Court's judgement, Rath approached the Principal Bench of the AFT.
Singh said that the petition before the AFT has been filed on the same line as the one filed in the Delhi High Court.
Rath in his petition said that COI has been initiated against him by the Eastern Command, headed by Army Chief-designate Lt Gen VK Singh following the approval of his elevation as deputy chief of army staff by Cabinet Committee of Appointments.
The order to attach him to the Kolkata-based headquarters prior to his taking over as army's deputy chief was "highly discriminatory, arbitrary and hence bad in law," the petition said.
"The attachment order has been passed with a malafide intention to stop the petitioner from joining the post as Deputy Chief Of Army Staff (DCOAS)," he had claimed.
Rath, along with Lt Gen Prakash is facing court martial in connection with the Sukhna land scam for giving no objection certificate to a private realtor to construct an educational institution on a 71-acre plot adjacent to Sukhna military base in Darjeeling.