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Sukna land scam: Ex-Lt. Gen.Rath to face court martial from Aug.30

By Mamatha

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): Former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen P K Rath will face a court martial starting August 30 for his role in issuing a no-objection certificate to a private realtor for building an educational institution on a 70-acre piece of land adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal.

Reports quoting defence ministry sources said that Lt. Gen. Rath would be the first serving officer of his rank to face a court martial for his alleged involvement in financial irregularities.

According to the sources, orders for convening the court martial have already been issued after the Summary of Evidence (SOE) recommended continuation of disciplinary proceedings against Lt. Gen. Rath.

A three-star officer senior to Rath will head the court martial.

In February this year, Lt. Gen. Rath withdrew his petition from the Armed Forces Tribunal against his court martial in connection with the scam.

His 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.

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, Lt. Gen. Rath's petition in the Delhi High Court was dismissed on a jurisdictional 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, who was the Military Secretary till he was forced to quit before his due date of superannuation in January this year on the orders of Defence Minister A.K. Antony. (ANI)

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