Lt Gen Rath found guilty in land scam

Shillong, Jan 21 (PTI) Lt Gen P K Rath, former DeputyChief of Army Staff-designate, was today found guilty by anArmy court martial in the Sukna land scam, becoming thehighest ranking serving officer to be convicted forcorruption.

The former 33 Corps Commander was found guilty onthree charges by the General Court Martial (GCM), includingissuance of the ''No Objection Certificates'' to a privaterealtor for constructing educational institutions on a pieceof land adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal,sources said.

The other charges are signing of MoU with GeetanjaliTrust for construction of the educational institute and fornot informing his superiors in the Eastern Command about theproposed agreement.

The quantum of sentence to the officer would bepronounced on Sunday, they added.

Rath was informed about his conviction by GCM''spresiding officer Lt Gen I J Singh.

Rath was facing trial on seven charges includingintent to defraud but he has been cleared on the other fourcharges, his counsel Major S S Pandey said.

This is the first case where a serving Lt General rankofficer has been found guilty of corruption. Earlier also LtGenerals have been court martialled but the convictions havecome after their retirement.

Rath had been designated as Deputy Chief of Army Staffbut when the scandal came to light in 2008, his appointmentwas cancelled and since then has been attached to differentarmy formations for disciplinary proceedings.

An Army Court of Inquiry had found Rath guilty ofwrongdoing along with Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, the thenMilitary Secretary to the Army Chief, Lt Gen Ramesh Halguly,the then 11 Corps Commander and Maj Gen P K Sen.

Subsequently, the Court Martial was ordered againstRath and Prakash while administrative action was directedagainst the two other officers.

Prakash, the senior most of the four, is also facingdisciplinary action in the case and his Summary of Evidence(SoE) has been completed in the Eastern Command headquartersin Kolkata.

Halgali is presently serving as the Director General(Military Training) in the Army headquarters in New Delhi.

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