Sukna scam: Rath''s petition rejected

Shillong, Jan 19 (PTI) The Army Court trying Lt Gen PK Rath in the Sukna land scam today rejected his petition toexamine private realtor Dilip Agarwal saying the defence wasgiven ample opportunity to put questions to Agarwal when hewas a court witness.

Presiding officer I J Singh, however, took on recordthe letter purportedly written by Agarwal to the courtclaiming that Rath was innocent.

"The court has examined the letter. All issues statedin the letter were brought out when he (Agarwal) was a courtwitness. No additional clarification is needed," Singh ruled.

He said the court had given full opportunity to thedefence to put questions to Agarwal but they declined to availthe opportunity at that time.

Rath had petitioned the court seeking to recallAgarwal and examine him to clarify "certain missing links thatmay have a direct bearing on the case".

Rath''s petition came after Agarwal wrote a letter tothe General Court Martial (GCM) blaming Lt Gen Ramesh Halgalifor issuing No Objection Certificates for construction on apiece of land adjacent to the military station.

Rath, former 33 Corps Commander, contended that in hisprevious appearance as a court witness, "Agarwal was notallowed to give any statement nor he was given any chance toproduce any document that he claims to have possessed. So hemight have resorted to write this letter to the GCM."

However, the GCM had refused to take cognisance of theletter after receiving it last week.

Responding to Rath''s plea, the Army opposed it sayingthat there was no such precedence of accepting last minutepetitions during GCMs, sources said.

Meanwhile, the judge advocate of the court is likelyto commence his summing up this evening.

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