Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ex-generals and admirals being employed by munition dealers for lobbying in South Block

Army’s war within: corruption
Ex Servicemen used as conduit for corruption and bribes by the MOD

After General VK Singh had taken over as Chief of Army Staff in 2010, a retired Lieutenant General, whose name figures in the Adarsh Society Housing scandal called on him at the office ostensibly to discuss developments in Kashmir. After the polite conversation, the retired intelligence chief asked him about the pending heavy vehicle contract and blatantly made it clear that there was Rs 50 crore for him in cold cash if the Rs 400 crore deal was awarded to an East European manufacturer instead of Indo-Russian joint venture. The retired general was immediately escorted out of the Chief’s office and was declared persona non grata. The ex-serviceman was not the first or the last of his kind as greed seems to be good for Army’s top brass.

On Tuesday, the CBI registered a case against a former Army Vice Chief Lt General Noble Thamburaj for allegedly conspiring with a builder Kalpataru over a select piece of Pune Cantonment defence land. One of the companies of the same builder is also under the CBI scanner for illegally obtaining prime defence land in Kandivili in Mumbai with the support of former minister of defence production Rao Inderjit Singh and former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor. The CBI has already registered a preliminary inquiry into the Kandivili land deal last month and moving towards registering a proper case.

After Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing scandal, involving two former Army chiefs and one former Navy chief among others, and Sukhna land scandal, which led to court martial and dismissal of former military secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, these two illegal land deals have taken the Army’s morale to a new low. From the unsavoury sagas of Ketchup Colonel, Booze Brigadier and Ration General, it becomes quite evident that Indian military is going through marked deterioration of human resource and character.

To top it all, there is growing politicisation of the Indian military for promotions, lucrative assignments and post-retirement jobs. The rot within the Indian defence establishment is clearly evident from the retired officers who liaison for defence contractors at golf courses and bars in Lutyen’s Delhi to ex-generals and admirals being employed by hardware dealers for lobbying in South Block.

In public perception the image of an Army officer is hardly different from that of an untrustworthy police officer. It is evident from these scandals that significant section within Army is out to make a quick buck and would do anything for few pieces of silver. This mindset goes right to the top, as otherwise, how one justifies that no less than five top generals including Kapoor and Thamburaj were declared low medical category for disability pension and IT rebates. Before the health of Indian Army deteriorates further without the help of Pakistani ISI or Chinese MSS, it is time that the UPA government intervened to stem the rot.

Fortunately, South Block has defence minister AK Antony and Army Chief Gen V K Singh at the helm of affairs at this crucial juncture. Both are above board integrity wise and cannot stand corruption. While swift action and stringent punishment act as a strong deterrent, it is time that the military mounted strong vigilance on its men and started the weeding out process at an early stage.

The promotions and postings process must be made totally transparent through technology with any interference from ruling party politicians or influential arms dealers. Promotion should be based on merit and not seniority as is the case now. Postings to big cities should be rotated fast so that an officer does not develop vested interest. There should be consolidation of defence lands sprawling all over the country with land records updated so that unscrupulous Army officers cannot illegally pass it on to builders.

While it is impossible to isolate or insulate military personnel from increasingly money oriented Indian society, it is important that military ethos is maintained or professionalism will be hit hard in the services. It is important to drive home the fact that the government takes special care of the armed forces through dedicated hospitals, housing, primary and secondary education and recreation facilities.

The average facilities provided to an Army Colonel, equivalent to a director level officer of central government, are far above as compared to his or her government counterparts. Same holds true for higher ranks. Yet there is increasing tendency within the armed forces to get attracted to money through illegal means or hardware deal making. The prevention exercise has to start from the top as the trooper on the border or the Line of Control looks towards the top brass as idols. Otherwise, all the respect won by those armed forces personnel who gave up their lives will be lost and Indian borders will be at peril.
Army’s war within: corruption

Adarsh Scam: List of officers in the dock
  • Gen Nirmal Chander Vij
  • Gen Deepak Kapoor
  • Lt Gen G S Sihota
  • Lt Gen P K Rampal
  • Lt Gen Shantanu Choudhry
  • Lt Gen Tejinder Singh
  • Maj Gen Ram Kanwar Hooda
  • Maj Gen A R Kumar
  • Maj Gen V S Yadav
  • Maj Gen Tej Kishen Kaul
    Army probe faults 10 top Officers
  • Gen VK Singh age row: Antony gets a week to reconcile records

    Friday, 3 February 2012 Antony gets a week to eat crow!
    Just back from the Supreme Court. In 40 minutes of riveting legal drama in a courtroom packed to the rafters, Mr Justice Lodha and Mr Justice Gokhale demonstrated why India's higher judiciary is such a powerful force in this country.
    Unmoved by a forceful performance from the government's legal stars --- Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, who argued in tandem --- the Court has given the Defence Ministry a week to let the Supreme Court know whether the MoD would prefer that Mr Antony's decision on General VK Singh's petition be quashed, and the MoD would consider his statutory complaint afresh... or would the MoD prefer that the Court hears the chief's petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.
    The Court made it clear that Antony's decision of 30th December 2011, rejecting the Army Chief's statutory complaint, violated the principles of natural justice. Antony's rejection was based on the Attorney General's legal opinion; that same Attorney General had also provided opinion that informed the MoD's earlier rejection (on July 2011) of the chief's request for his date of birth to be recognised as 1951, not 1950. The court's legal question was: How could the Attorney General provide the legal backstop for Antony's 30th December decision, when it was the same Attorney General's legal opinion that was being questioning in Gen Singh's statutory complaint? There was a clear conflict of interest here, observed the Court.
    The Court also opposed the government's argument that the case should go to the Armed Forces Tribunal. When the chief has just four months of service left, the Court asked, why delay? And any appeal against the AFT's decision would come up before the Supreme Court again, the judges observed.
    Antony gets a week to eat crow!

    From archives of Dawn on Sam Manekshaw
    Words of grace from our adversary: click here

    Sad Commentary
    'The death of the only Indian to be appointed field marshal when in active service has been remarkable for the warmth of the ordinary men and women who queued up to say 'thank you'…. It was also remarkable for the complete lack of grace and gratitude, civility and courtesy, decency and decorum on the part of the bold-faced names rapaciously grazing the lawns of power in Delhi and elsewhere, for the brain behind India's only decisive military victory.' And a sentence which would have made Sam Bahadur chuckle: As he rightly surmised once: 'I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor, a gun from a howitzer, a guerrilla from a gorilla – although a great many of them in the past have resembled the latter'.
    Now it seems the MOD and its pundits are also unable to decide, deduce or discern the date of birth from original documents...!

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Age Row: SC questions govt order, adjourns case till Feb 10, 2012

    Age Row: SC questions govt order, adjourns case till Feb 10
    Feb 3, 2012
    Army Chief Gen VK Singh seems to have won the first round in the legal battle on the age row with the Supreme Court today saying the manner in which his statutory complaint was rejected by the Government “appears to be vitiated”.
    Posting the matter for hearing on February 10, the court sought to know whether the Government would like to withdraw its December 30, 2011 order.
    Defence Minister A K Antony had issued an order on December 30 turning down the statutory complaint of Gen Singh that his date of birth be treated in Army’s records as May 10, 1951 and not as May 10, 1950.
    Posing questions to the Government, the bench of Justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale was of the view that the Defence Ministry’s order of July 21, 2011 holding the date of birth as May 10, 1950 was based on the opinion of Attorney General and so was the case when the December 30 order was passed on the statutory complaint.
    After the court asked whether the Government would like to withdraw the December 30 order, Attorney general GE Vahanvati said he will seek instruction from the government on the issue.
    The court said there were other remedies available for Gen Singh if the government withdraws its December 30 order.
    It said in that case Gen Singh’s statutory complaint against July 21 order can be reconsidered by the authorities and there was also an option for him to approach the Armed Forces Tribunal.
    During the hearing, the bench observed that when it was held that Gen Singh’s complaint was not maintainable, the only remedy he had was to approach the apex court.
    From the outset, the bench questioned the decision-making process of the government.
    “We are not concerned as much with the decision but we are concerned with the decision-making process which is vitiated as the July 21 order was also based on the consideration of opinion given by the Attorney General and when the statutory complaint of the Army Chief was decided on December 30, there also Attorney General’s opinion was taken into consideration,” the Bench observed.
    The bench further said, “The material on record will not withstand the test of principle of natural justice and principle of ultra vires.”
    The Attoreny General and the Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman defended the government action and said on the facts no prejudice is caused to Gen Singh.
    Reacting to the court order, one of Gen Singh’s counsel Punit Bali said they were definitely happy with the order but would not go into the merits of the case since it is sub judice.
    He said the main question raised by the court was can the authority which rejected the General’s statutory complaint base its decision on the advice of the Attorney General who had earlier advised the Government to come to a conclusion in its July 21 order.
    Telling the media not to read too much, Bali said it is normal procedure for courts to raise queries.
    While the Attorney General was defending his action in giving opinion, the bench said “we are more concerned about Constitutional principles–whether this order of December 30 stands the test of constitutional principle of natural justice and principle of ultra vires.
    It also asked the AG whether the government wants to withdraw the December 30 order.
    “Be clear whether you want to withdraw this December 30 order,” it said.
    To this the Attorney General replied, “I will take instructions.”
    “You take your position about this order,” the court told him.
    The bench also asked the government as to why should the matter be not brought to an end.
    While suggestions were being made that Gen Singh can also approach the Armed Force Tribunal, the bench said, only four months are left for him to retire and it is probably not the best remedy.
    The bench also said that though the tribunal is headed by its retired judge, there are also members who come from the services and there is a possibility that they could either be junior or senior to Gen Singh at some point of time. PTI
    Age Row: SC questions govt order, adjourns case till Feb 10

    One more Kalmadi like conman detected in the congress caucus

    2 Feb, 2012, 10.05PM IST PTI
    Praful Patel faces bribery allegations over $100 mn Air India contract, denies wrongdoing

    Union Minister Praful Patel today found himself at the centre of pay-off allegations concerning a $100 million Air India contract during his tenure as Civil Aviation Minister, but he rubbished the charges as "baseless and preposterous".
    A leading Canadian newspaper, Globe and the Mail, reported that an Indian-born Canadian citizen, Nazir Karigar, is to be prosecuted on charges of paying off Patel in a case in which a former Mumbai police chief also figures.
    Karigar is accused of paying bribes and being involved in a bid-rigging scheme in 2007 in an unsuccessful attempt to win the contract from Air India for computerised passenger face recognition biometrics system. The airline ultimately abandoned the plans for such a system.
    According to the newspaper, investigators allege that in early 2007, Karigar met Patel, now Minister for Heavy Industries, along with one of his political allies Laxman Dhoble.
    Later, Karigar described to others, including one cooperating witness from CryptoMetrics, the company bidding for the contract, how he allegedly gave $250,000 to Dhoble "to pass on to Mr Patel so the Minister could use his influence to make the project happen," the report said.
    Part of the movement of that money has been documented in a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York where CryptoMetrics sued Karigar, saying that it had paid him $250,000 on the condition that Air India contract would be signed within days, it said.

    However, the newspaper also stated that there is no evidence in the court records that Patel received the money.

    Stoutly denying the allegations, Patel, when contacted for his reaction, said the claims of bribery appeared to be "a perfect con job" by somebody trying to convince his company that he could deliver a contract if he is paid.
    Praful Patel faces bribery allegations over $100 mn Air India contract

    Authorities allege that Mr. Karigar described to others how he funnelled a $250,000 bribe to Praful Patel, India’s Minister of Heavy Industries and a former minister of aviation.
    The case against Mr. Karigar has ensnared another household name in India – Hasan Gafoor, a former Mumbai police commissioner who oversaw the force during the terrorist attacks on his city in 2008. Mr. Gafoor conspired with Mr. Karigar to rig a contract worth $100-million (U.S.), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. When contacted, Mr. Patel and Mr. Gafoor said they have no knowledge of the alleged scheme and that The Globe and Mail’s inquiries were the first they had heard about the allegations.
    In an interview at his office in New Delhi, Mr. Patel said he was baffled that Canadian authorities could implicate him in an alleged bribery scheme that he had never heard of. In a letter to Prime Minister Singh published on the Wall Street Journal's website, Mr. Patel denied the bribery allegations, calling them "baseless and false."
    “How can my name be drawn into something that is absolutely false? I’m in public life. I cannot be dragged into such issues and these allegations which are absolutely baseless and false,” said Mr. Patel, who repeatedly added that he will explore “legal options” about how to respond.
    Canadian accused of bribing cabinet minister in India is a test case for Canada’s foreign anti-corruption law

    Defence Ministry declares Military as a Monarchy for succession

    Defence Ministry: Concert of Errors
    Nancy Kaul 02 Feb 2012

    A distinguished historian once said, great civilisations do not die, but they can commit suicide. India, a nation and a civilisation, seems bent on taking this perilous path to ruin. Nothing else can explain the morbid determination with which the ruling Congress-led dispensation has set out to humiliate and destroy the Indian Army, the most vital institution for the country’s defence and security in an increasingly turbulent age.

    Pig-headed acts of omission and commission by a few individuals concerned only with their petty egos and illicit calculations of gain or prestige are playing with the honour of the Army Chief, the nation’s preeminent soldier and an officer of sterling quality.

    The entirely contrived controversy over the date of birth of Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh is little more than a clerical error that a previous Army Chief decided to exploit to create a ‘line of succession’ of his choice – though he had no legal or moral right to create such a chain of succession. The issue should have been sorted out by his successor, but he was upset over the current incumbent’s non-compromising attitude towards corruption in the ranks!

    That is why the issue finally landed in the corridors of the Ministry of Defence, which promptly proceeded to make a hash of it. Babus without accountability or conscience stirred the pot, but Defence Minister A.K. Anthony – who did nothing and passed the buck around to colleagues Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid among others – took the cake when he told the media that the issue was the creation of the Indian Army itself!

    What for is he a Minister if he cannot untangle a non-binding error in a form, and reconcile the same with a wealth of legal documentation?

    Certainly Mr. Anthony must take full responsibility for the sudden receipt of an undated letter by Army Headquarters on 23 Jan 2012, from the Ministry of Defence.

    The letter is blatantly illegal, bad in law and intent, and is doubtless ab initio void. It is a hasty and clumsy attempt to ‘fix’ the legal record in favour of the Government, now that the General’s petition is being heard by the Supreme Court on Friday, 3 February 2012.

    Had the Union Law Ministry, or even the unimpressive Attorney General been consulted, they would have warned about the perils of sub-judice. But whom the gods destroy, the first drive mad…

    Thus, a bemused nation witnessed the spectacle of a deputy secretary in the Ministry of Defence, K.L. Nandwani, directing the Adjutant General (AG), the official record-keeper of the Indian Army, to ‘change’ its records and ensure that Gen Singh’s year of birth is recorded as 10 May 1950 [and not 10 May 1951 as recorded by a plethora of official documentation].

    Does this mean that the Adjutant General should make the desired changes in each and every document that records 10 May 1951 as Gen V.K. Singh’s date of birth, viz. – the Pune military hospital where he was born; his father’s military service record; school leaving certificate; NDA and IMA certificates; career records; decorations and awards from the Government of India … Is it a joke?

    But it seems the madmen at the MoD were serious, as the letter directs Army Headquarters to maintain ‘strict compliance’ with this order and send ‘a compliance report to the Ministry at the earliest’. So far, as the media has reported, compliance has been negative. And that is how it should be.

    Given the outrageousness of this order, some points deserve to be mentioned:

  • The concerned bureaucrat was too junior an officer to dare to send such a missive to an officer of the status of Adjutant General
  • Clearly the letter was an attempt to browbeat the AG’s office at the instance of Defence Minister A.K. Anthony
  • Even the Defence Secretary would not have taken the decision to have the letter issued without clearance from the Minister for fear of being exposed via an RTI query and hauled up in the courts
  • The Prime Minister has conducted himself once again as the blind king Dhritrashtra, who brought no glory to the House of Pandu and ultimately caused the demise of each of his hundred sons.
  • Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Cancelled telecom licenses: Impact on consumers, economy

    2G Spectrum Scam- 122 Licenses cancelled- Corrupt Communication Corporates in the Dock
    NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 02, 2012 13:26 IST
    New Delhi: India is the world's second-largest telecom market in terms of subscribers - it has 900 million subscribers. So far, the telecom sector has been crowded with more than a dozen players. Call rates in India among the lowest in the world.

    Now that the Supreme Court has cancelled 122 licenses, here is a quick look at the likely impact.

    Verdict to shake up India's fragmented telecom market
    To lead to consolidation in the telecom sector
    Non-serious, weak players will be weeded out
    Spectrum to be linked to market prices and auctioned
    Established players like Bharti, Vodafone, and Idea to benefit
    Policy uncertainty for the telecom sector as the judgement is studied and evaluated

    Telecom rates to go up in long run as spectrum will be auctioned

    Auction of spectrum will lead to another financial windfall for government
    2G telecom auction may help plug government's fiscal deficit
    May further dampen business climate and investor sentiment
    Bad news for foreign investors in telecom, may further impact FDI
    Read more at: Cancelled telecom licenses: Impact on consumers, economy

    Comment: The Supreme Court verdict is historical and could be forerunner to the Strong Lokpal Bill. The citizens need to go after the black Money and Swiss Secret Acounts. Politicians who are criminalising the citizens must find their rightful place in the Jail!

    Citizen's Right to Fight Corruption is Constitutional
    New Delhi: The Supreme Court has today said that the right to file a complaint against a public servant under Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right. The two judges also faulted the Prime Minister's office not taking appropriate action when Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy wrote in, asking for then telecom minister A Raja to be tried for corruption. Here are five big facts on this story: Click here

    Army to probe Pune brawl

    Short description
    The army has blamed the Pune police for the Pune brawl. Army Sources have given their version on the whole event, 2 officers enter bridge on motorcycle by mistake. They were stopped by a constable & told to pay fine. Officers were ready to pay the fine. Constable told that he was harassed in the army area & now he will sort them out. Another constable got into a confrontation & they were taken to police station. Earlier Pune Police had registered an FIR against three army officials in the clash with the police.

    Army to probe Pune brawl
    Mumbai: Feb 1, 2012,DHNS

    A Court of Inquiry has been ordered by the army to ferret out details of a brawl between two officers and policemen late Tuesday and the subsequent clash between military police and Pune civil police.

    By late Wednesday evening both the army and civil police were busy trying to slap cases against each other of assaulting public servants on duty.

    According to a defence official, two traffic cops including a woman constable stopped two young army officers from College of Military Engineering (CME) Capt V Advait and Lt A B Pandit, riding a motorbike, while they were trying to cross Sambhaji Bridge.

    The contention of army officials was that both officers were unaware of the fact that two-wheelers were not allowed on the bridge as there was no prominent signpost proclaiming the traffic order.

    “Even though the army officers introduced themselves and stated that they were unaware of the rule, the woman constable snatched the ignition key from the bike while her male companion started abusing Capt Advait demanding that they pay the fine,” according army officials.

    Captain Advait in his statement said that while he had agreed to pay the fine, “the male constable kept on with his rant and tried to rough him up, stating that he was also once roughed up in cantonment area for not wearing a helmet.” Preliminary investigations reveal that the constable as well as the army officer made calls to their respective seniors and mates.

    At the police station, even as police were trying to frame charges against Capt Advait and Lt. Pandit, Corps of Military Police (CMP) along with the CME seniors stormed in and soon a free for all ensued.

    While the police claimed that CMP soldiers smashed and roughed up several policemen in the station, the army officials said that the law-enforcing agency tipped off media persons to gain a sympathetic news coverage.
    Army to probe Pune brawl
    Army orders inquiry into Pune clash
    Comment: Police have the right to regulate traffic but no right to harass. They ought to have noted the names and details of traffic violaters and forward to the Military authorities insofar as Military personnel are concerned. Often Policemen themselves are traffic violaters on the streets and silent spectators to traffic violations. It is also common to see drunken Police on duty who abuse each and everyone. Police need to respect the Soldiers Sensibilities. This incident shows lack of mutual respect. The Military and Police need to adhere to basic tenets of civil law.

    Army chief race turns murky as allegations fly

    Army chief in waiting - Lt Gen Bikram Singh

    Army chief race turns murky as allegations fly
    Josy Joseph, TNN Jan 11, 2012, 04.15AM IST
    Lt Gen Bikram Singh is likely to become the Chief of Army Staff after Gen VK Singh retires because he is the senior-most officer in the Indian Army and the government rarely deviates from the seniority principle in deciding the Army chief.
    NEW DELHI: Just when the controversy over the age of Army chief Gen V K Singh is beginning to die down, a set of allegations have cropped up against his likely successor Lt Gen Bikram Singh, making the issue of who should head the world's second largest standing army a murky affair.

    Most serious of the complaints against Lt Gen Bikram Singh is a decade-old, and concerns an encounter in Kashmir on March 1, 2001. Lt Gen Bikram Singh, then a brigadier heading counter-insurgency operations in the area, was injured and a colonel killed. A local NGO 'Youth Empowerment Services of Kashmir' has been petitioning various authorities in Delhi and in Kashmir countering Army's claim that the operation resulted in the killing of a foreign militant named Mateen Chacha.

    The group has alleged that the deceased was actually a 70-year-old local named Abdullah Bhat, a resident of Machil, Kupwara, who was shown as a foreign militant. The NGO has not dropped its campaign despite the clean chit to Lt Gen Bikram Singh from the local police.

    In what may appear to be part of a chain, an MP has also written to the prime minister questioning Lt Gen Bikram Singh's suitability to lead the Army on the ground that his daughter in-law is from Pakistan. The intelligence establishment, approached by the PMO, gave an all-clear to Lt General Bikram Singh but this has not spelt respite for him.

    There are also anonymous complaints doing the rounds about Lt Gen Bikram Singh's posting in African on a UN peacekeeping mission, and failure to contain disciplinary breaches by some Indian Army soldiers. Some members of an Indian Army battalion are accused of fathering children, by illegal sexual contacts with local women, while they were posted in Africa.

    There are three possible scenarios that heighten concerns within the government about the succession battle. One, if Gen V K Singh retires as per the government records, then Lt Gen Bikram Singh could be announced as the next chief by March 31. If Gen VK Singh were to continue until 2013, then Lt Gen KT Parnaik, who is heading the Northern Army Command, would be the senior-most officer in line.

    In case Gen VK Singh resigns abruptly in the coming weeks, before the government announces Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the new chief, then there could a further twist to the succession battle. Given the complexities of the scenario, government sources said they were warily watching allegations being flung around.
    Army chief race turns murky as allegations fly

    Comment: The Indian Army Chief to succeed Gen VK Singh should be above board. The succession plan plotted by Bureaucrats should be examined, shelved and mischief makers brought to book.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Antony, General Singh blame Army for the age row

    As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear the Army Chief age row, both Defence Minister AK Antony and Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh on Tuesday blamed the Army for the mess. Both Antony as well as General Singh said that the Army sat on the problem for 36 years and that the problem should not recur.

    Antony said that the Supreme Court verdict on the controversy surrounding the date of birth of Army Chief will be final. Refusing to see the controversy as a civil-military conflict, Antony said that people responsible for maintaining the records will take the decision on General Singh’s date of birth.

    “It’s gone beyond the government. Let’s wait for the Supreme Court decision. That will be final and nobody can question that,” said Antony in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    “There are people responsible for that, (and) they will take the decision. At this stage it won’t come to me,” said the Defence Minister.

    Antony pointed out that the controversy was not new and it had been festering for over 36 years.

    “It’s been 36 years but the government was not in picture. It was only known to the Army. In 2006 the Army noticed two dates of birth, then it went to the level of Army Chief in 2006. The government of that day took a decision and recommended it to the Army. Where is the civil-military controversy? In 2008 it was another Army Chief and then the recommendation was sent to the government and the government accepted that,” he said.

    Reacting to the Defence Minister’s statement, Genral VK Singh said, “Yes, this problem has been within the Army. It shouldn’t have happened, but has continued for 36 years, and this problem will not recur ever again.”

    “The letter from the Defence Ministry to the Adjutant General’s branch is being studied and reply will be given in due course,” he said.

    “There was some problem in coordination between the branch that keeps all the service records and other branches. Now a system has been put in place to resolve the coordination problem. As a result, such problem will never recur,” General Singh said.
    Antony, General Singh blame Army for the age row
    Highlights of the sidelights
    Indian Army’s dignity in danger

    Tuesday, January 31, 2012

    Pune Land Scam: Former vice chief of Army raided

    Former vice chief of Army raided as part of land scam inquiry
    Nitin Gokhale, Updated: January 31, 2012 19:55 IST

    Pune: Lieutenant General Noble Thamubraj, the former vice chief of the Army and former Defence Estates Officer, Pune, SR Nayyar have been raided in connection with a land scam in Pune.
    Officials from the CBI visited their homes in Pune this morning. Cases against them now include charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal misconduct.
    Both officers allegedly played lead roles in violating the terms of lease of a one-acre plot of Army land in the Pune cantonment area to Kalpatru Builders.
    Noble Thamburaj was Southern Army Commander before becoming Vice Chief of Army Staff. He retired in 2010. The CBI says that Nobel Thamburaj and SR Nayyar sanctioned a deal skewed in favour of the real estate developers, costing the Army Rs 46 crore.
    Kalpataru Builders are involved in another land scam in Mumbai. According to the CBI, in 2007, three acres of land in Kandivali West next to an Army Ordnance Depot was used by by Kalpatru Builders to construct a multi-storied building. Army officials said the mandatory No objection Certificate was not taken from the authorities concerned. The building also compromised the Army's security. The Army believes that a network of officers colluded to profit from underhand arrangement.
    Read more at: Former vice chief of Army raided as part of land scam

    Comment: What about Officers involved in the Adarsh Scam? Why the go slow?
    Noble Career engulfed in corruption
    Lieutenant General Noble Thamburaj, a 1969 batch officer, had a distinguished career spanning 38 years. Associated with the Armed Forces services right from childhood, this second generation officer is an alumnus of King George’’s Military School Chail, Sainik Schools Amravati Nagar and Jamnagar, and the 34th NDA Course, before he was commissioned into the Bombay Sappers. An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the General has done his Senior Command, Higher Command and NDC Courses. He is also accredited with higher technical qualification, M Tech (Bldg Sc) from IIT Delhi and M Phil (Defence Studies) from Indore University. During his illustrious career, the General has held many important assignments including that of a Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade, command of 411 parachute field company, command of his parent unit 109 engineer regiment in high altitude area in the eastern region. He commanded a Rashtriya Rifle sector in counter Insurgency environment during ”Operation VIJAY” and an infantry division during ”Operation PARAKRAM”, in deserts. Besides, he has been an instructor in Defence Services Staff College Officers Training Academy, Chennai. A paratrooper, the General still participates in the para drops whenever opportunity comes his way. For his distinguished service, the General has been awarded Sena Medal and Chief of the Army Staff commendation card twice in his career. In his career spanning 39 years, the General has seen action during Indo-Pak war, counter insurgency in North East and Jammu and Kashmir. The General is married to Anita Thamburaj and has two daughters. (ANI)
    click here to read more

    Former Army Commander's lukewarm and unsoldierly response
    Why am I 'singled out', asks ex-Army vice chief He should come clean on the conspiracy, beneficiaries and the co- conspirators.

    Antony throws the Chief's age row out of his court

    DD News 31 Jan 2012
    Antony blames Army for chief's age row

    Laying the blame on the army's doors for the controversy over Gen V K Singh's age issue, Defence Min A K Antony has said it occurred because the force kept two sets of his date of birth for 36 years and maintained there was no civil-military confrontation.
    "For 36 years, two branches of the same institution maintained two dates of birth and that is why this controversy," he told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday in his first detailed comments on the raging controversy that is before the Supreme Court now.
    "It is unfortunate that it took years together but I don't agree with some of you that it is a civil-military controversy," Antony added.
    He suggested that the government had no role to play in the whole issue as this discrepancy was first noticed in 2006 by the Army headquarters and reconciled at that level then and later in 2008 by two respective chiefs.
    Antony said from 2006 to 2009, the Army Headquarters (AHQ) handled and reconciled the age issue at their level and the government accepted their recommendations and had no role to play in it.
    "It (two dates of birth) was noticed by the AHQ in 2006 and then it was reconciled at the level of the then Army chief (Gen J J Singh). Army took a decision and conveyed it to the government. I was not there but the government of the day took a decision on the basis of recommendations of the Army," he said.
    The Defence Minister said when the issue came up again in 2008, the AHQ at the level of the then Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor had reconciled the matter and the government accepted the recommendations of the force.
    "Like in 2006, in 2008 also, AHQ at their level reconciled it and sent it to the government, which accepted that. What else the government could do?" he said.
    Antony said after accepting recommendations of the AHQ on the matter in 2009, "the government had thought that all controversies were reconciled, at least by 2009 and thought everything is over but again a complaint came in 2011."
    He said after receiving the complaint in 2011, the government took three decisions on basis of the opinions given by the Law Ministry and the Attorney General and "that is the only way the government can function".
    The Minister said that now that the government decision on the issue has been questioned in the Supreme Court, "let us have some patience and not make this a controversy again and again."
    "This is now beyond the government and we have no control over it. Let us all mentally-prepare to accept the decision whatever it may be. That will be the final decision of the Supreme Court of India," he said. (DD-31.1)
    Antony blames Army for chief's age row

    Comment: Indecision is the virtue of the Bureaucrats and throwing the ball in others court is the normal. Certainly there is no controversy! Who are the Mischief Makers?

    UOI gets a rap for hobnobbing with the corrupt

    Supreme Court verdict on corruption cases is big setback for govt
    A Vaidyanathan, Updated: January 31, 2012 13:20 IST

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court has delivered a verdict that will impact all cases against public officials, bureaucrats and ministers. Today's verdict provokes new embarrassment for the government because it agrees that Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy had every right to ask the Prime Minister's Office to sanction the prosecution of former Telecom Minister A Raja for corruption charges. Mr Swamy had gone to court against the Prime Minister's Office which refused to respond for many months to his petition. "The verdict is a slap on the government's face," said the BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad.

    Reacting to the judgement, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy said, "The sanction issue has been addressed in the Lokpal Bill. The Supreme Court has also said the Parliament should formulate the policy. As far as time frame is concerned, we will formulate guidelines accordingly after studying the judgement."

    Rules dictate that without sanction from a top government authority, a public servant cannot be prosecuted. The Supreme Court has said today that the authority in question has three months within which to decide if permission has been granted. Another month can be taken if the government wanted to take the opinion of the attorney general. If there is no response for four months, it can be assumed that proceedings can begin against the government servant in question.

    Mr Swamy wanted Mr Raja to stand trial for his alleged role as the mastermind of the telecom or 2G scam, which saw companies getting mobile network licenses and spectrum at throwaway prices. Mr Swamy waited for nearly 16 months for a reply from the Prime Minister's Office, which told him that the evidence against Mr Raja was being scrutinized. Mr Swamy then went to court.

    The right to file a complaint against a public servant under Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right, said the Supreme Court.

    The government says that the new Lokpal Bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha in December does away with the need to seek any sanction against a government servant accused of corruption. Therefore, sources say, today's verdict proves the government was right to push for this feature. The Lokpal Bill, which creates a new ombudsman agency to investigate corruption charges against government servants, has yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
    Supreme Court verdict on corruption cases is big setback for govt

    Chennai leads in Fakes

    CHENNAI, January 31, 2012
    Gang arrested with stash of fake certificates, seals

    Washermenpet police on Sunday busted a four-member gang that made fake government certificates, ration cards and school mark sheets. Over 800 certificates, government seals and screen printing boards were seized.
    According to Washermenpet police sources, those arrested were Jayaraman (64) and Perumal (74), both from Royapuram and Duraipal (50) from Ponneri and Moorthy (48) from Tiruvottiyur. Duraipal and Moorthy who have screen printing expertise used to forge all kinds of government certificates, including Community, Birth and Income Tax certificates, and also Standard 10th and 12th mark sheets.
    Jayaraman and Perumal used to hang around government offices and target people who came to obtain government certificates, sources added. “The two men would offer to get the certificates for the victims in a few days after collecting the details.
    Duraipal and Moorthy would then print the necessary certificate at a screen printing press in Tiruvottiyur or their homes and hand it over to Jayaraman and Perumal. They would in turn sell the fake certificates as real for a price ranging from Rs.500 to Rs.1,000 each,” said T. Veera Kumar, Inspector of Police, Washermenpet.
    Following information provided by Arun Kumar (28) of New Washermenpet, regarding two men offering to get a birth certificate outside the Corporation Zonal office in Basin Bridge, a Washermenpet police team arrested Jayaraman and Perumal.
    Duraipal and Moorthy were also arrested and more than 800 fake government certificates, 28 seals with government stamps of various departments and schools and 19 screen printing boards used to make the certificates were seized, police added.
    The men were remanded to custody and sent to Puzhal prison on Monday. Police are identifying those persons who purchased the fake documents from the gang
    Gang Arrested with stash of fakes and seals

    Ex Servicemen News

    Army chief's age row: Haryana ex-servicemen plan protest at Jantar Mantar
    Manveer Saini, TNN Jan 25, 2012, 07.06AM ISTT

    CHANDIGARH: Intensifying harden its support for chief of army staff, Gen V K Singh, the Rajput Pratinidhi Sabha and office bearers of ex-servicemen organizations from across the state on Tuesday threatened an agitation at Jantar Mantar on March 2 to press their demand for correction of the age of army chief. In a meeting held at Bapora, native village of the army chief, in Bhiwani district, the delegates, headed by Col (retd) Gajraj Singh, termed the government's stand as a move to bog down Gen Singh, who dared to recommend court martial against errant officers, after playing an important role in exposing various scams.
    "We shall press the demand that government must consider Gen's date of birth as May 10, 1951. This is shocking that he had been given 8 promotions on the basis of this date of birth and now, just to retire him, the date of birth is being considered as May 10, 1951. Since various defense deals worth several thousand crores of rupees are lined up, some vested interests want him to go,'' Gajraj Singh told reporters after the meeting, sources said.
    "We shall await the government's response. Else, thousands of ex-servicemen as well as those who support Gen Singh shall stage a dharna at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar," added Gajraj Singh.
    Those who attended the meeting included Col (retd) Mahavir Singh, R P Singh, Col (retd) Veer Singh, Capt (retd) Suresh Tanwar, Kanwar Parveen Singh Tanwar and office bearers of various ex-servicemen associations and NGOs across Haryana.
    Rajput Pratinidhi Sabha was the first to react soon after Gen Singh challenged the move to retire him on the basis of date of birth as May 10,1950.
    Click here for the original post

    IESL gets a high voltage jolt
    In a jolt to the Indian Ex-Servicemen League (IESL) that counts 9 lakh veterans across the nation as its members, the President last month conveyed that her name is being used as the grand patron in chief without consent and the organisation should discontinue this practice. The organisation has contended that the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has always been a grand patron in chief since it was set up in 1964 and has produced several documents, including letters by former Presidents Giani Zail Singh and V V Giri, to support its cause.
    Senior functionaries of IESL contend that the reason for the harsh stand by Patil’s office are the antics of its rival — Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) — that has in the past months organised rallies and protests for pension hikes. The President’s office has come under increasing pressure after members of similarly named IESM started returning their medals in protest against perceived pension discrepancies.
    However, in the official letter sent to the organisation, Patil’s office has said the President as a policy is not accepting ‘patronship’ of autonomous organisations. The letter says the name of the President should no longer be used in any document of the IESL. Countering this, IESL functionaries say that several Presidents have accepted this ‘tradition’ and named three former Supreme Commanders who have endorsed the organisation.
    With the President’s office closing the case with a firm no, IESL has approached the ex-servicemen cell of the Congress in a bid to revive the ‘tradition’. “It is a serious matter and I will be taking it up through the proper channels,” secretary of AICC ex-servicemen department Captain Praveen Davar said
    Click here to read more

    Legal Remedy
    IESL as an autonomous body should get themselves registered under the Indian Society Act of 1860, if it has not yet been done. Otherwise, it is an illegal entity and should not blame IESM or any other organisation for its derecognition by the Supreme Commander who is not happy with its Aim, Goals and Mission. All ESM organisations should come under the ambit of RTE and Lokpal Bill and confirm to the rules of the land in vogue.

    Adarsh Scam: IAS Officer is Rewarded with Promotion

    Adarsh scam: CBI grills Ashok Chavan
    Jan 31, 2012, 03.50AM IST
    MUMBAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) quizzed former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh housing society scam early this month. Chavan, an accused in the case, is the third ex-CM to be quizzed by the agency.
    The CBI had earlier questioned two former state CMs, Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Union science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
    Chavan was not available for comment. The CBI refused to divulge more details.
    Chavan is alleged to have abused his official position with an ulterior motive of getting flats for his relatives. On January 29 last year, the CBI registered a case against 14 persons, including Chavan and retired army officials and bureaucrats, on charges of fraud and misuse of official powers.
    Adarsh scam: CBI grills Ashok Chavan
    Corrupt IAS Officer Rewarded
    IAS member embroiled in Adarsh scam promoted

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Army Chief's age: Personal matter or conspiracy?

    30 Jan 2012
    RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review. He analyses Army Chief's age: Personal matter or conspiracy?

    The controversy over the army chief's date of birth (D.O.B.) is bizarre and probably symptomatic of the degradation of value systems at the higher echelons of the army. It is definitely not a sudden development.

    Officers of the rank of lieutenant general have gone to the civil courts on matters relating to promotions in the past. The only institution which had no need to do so was that of the army chief, because that was the end of the hierarchy and the ladder. But then there was the allure of post-retirement sinecure and many army chiefs were perceived to be bending backwards for it.

    Eventually, by a seemingly capillary action, the malaise crept right to the top. The system had acquired such a culture of sleaze and conspiracy over the years that there was an attempt to even manipulate the duration and succession chain of the institution.

    Gen VK Singh's decision to go to the Supreme Court is a manifestation of this. The case otherwise was so simple – or such a non-issue- that its resolution was more a matter of common sense than judicial intervention.

    The case arose from a difference in the records of the Military Secretary's Branch and the Adjutant General's (AG's) Branch of the army. The latter is the usual record-keeper.

    In Gen Singh's case, the ministry of defence decided that it will go by the Military Secretary's records – when common sense should have told it to do otherwise. In fact, the MoD has done so in at least one earlier case.

    In a strikingly similar case, one Col Ramesh Chander Joshi (IC-16142) received his orders for retirement from the MS Branch (vide Letter No. 30004/Sep 96/Tech/MS Retirement w.e.f. 30 September 1996) based on the fact that his date of birth was listed as 22 September 1944.

    However, the records with the Adjutant General's branch clearly indicated his date of birth as 25 November 1945. The officer communicated this anomaly to the MS Branch. In the absence of reply, on the last day of his retirement, i.e. 30 September 1996, the officer had no option but to send a signal directly to the army chief.

    Promptly, on the same day, the officer received a message "This HQ letter No 30004/Sep/96/Tech/MS Retirement of 13 Sep 1996 regarding retirement of IC 16142 Col Ramesh Chander Joshi Engrs of E-in-c's Branch Army Hq w.e.f. from 30 Sep 96 is hereby cancelled. The claimed date of birth as 25 Nov 45 has been accepted by ministry of defence (MoD). Officer will continue in service till further orders."

    As in the case of Gen Singh, the date of birth column in the UPSC form in respect of Col Joshi had been incorrectly filled and was corrected by the UPSC first and subsequently by the National Defence Academy (NDA) once his Senior Cambridge certificate arrived.

    Col Joshi wonders: "If it has happened in my case why not in the case of Gen VK Singh?"

    Most army officers are bewildered and question: where is the scope for controversy?

    Various military secretaries who had dealt with the case, in keeping with their moral imperative, could have ‘corrected' their records within a matter of hours.

    A simple acknowledgement of the mistake could have done much to establish fairplay, judgment and credibility on the part of the Military Secretary Branch. This acknowledgement would otherwise have made no difference to the date of birth of Gen Singh, as the Army List has no legal sanctity. An acknowledgement or acceptance of mistake was desired because it was repeated over more than 36 years. Every year, at the time of the general's Annual Confidential Records, his date of birth was mentioned as 10 May 1951.

    There are scores of such cases in the Army List, wherein the date of birth, or IC number or name is wrongly entered. People have retired as lieutenant generals with wrong IC numbers in the Army List. If these military secretaries were 'men of honour' they should have accepted their 'omissions' and tried to clean up the functioning of the MS Branch.

    The buzz among army insiders is that these gentlemen entered into a conspiracy with at least two army chiefs and subsequent powers that be in inflicting their mistake or omission (of not correcting the army chief's d.o.b.) and blackmailing Gen Singh by using the inaccurate and inconsequential document called the 'Army List' as tool.

    Some 90 percent officers in the army retire without seeing the Army List. There is a popular saying in the army that only crooks and careerists see the Army List.

    Ministry of Defence issues illegal directive to AG's Branch

    Army chief vs Government: Five new developments
    Nitin Gokhale, Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Updated: January 30, 2012 12:12 IST

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to hear the army chief's case against the government on February 4. General VK Singh has become the first serving Army chief to take the government to court - he wants the court to decide how old he is. Here are five big facts about the case:

    1. What's the problem? General VK Singh says he was born on May 10, 1951; the government says it has to go by documents that list his date of birth as May 10, 1950. General Singh's records within the army show both dates. The General says he has tried several times to have the date corrected. But his requests were turned down. In December, the Defence Ministry ruled against him.

    2. What's the big new development? Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing, the government has instructed the army to correct all its records to uniformly reflect 1950 as General Singh's year of birth. The army's official record-keeper is the Adjutant-General. The Ministry of Defence says that after General Singh's appeals were rejected, the army is obliged to amend its documents.

    3. So far, the Adjutant-General has not implemented the government's order. Sources say that the administrators in this branch say records cannot be changed even by an executive order - and officials want to be sure that the government's instructions are legally valid. The Adjutant-General, sources say, may try to buy time till the Supreme Court hearing to gauge what judges make of the government's stand. So they may tell the Ministry of Defence that changing every single record for the army chief is a process that could take several days.

    4. Is that a valid point? Yes, say experts, who point out that the government's instruction to the Army mean that all confidential records for General Singh, his pay book, driving license, passport and other documents will have to be amended.

    5. Is this about his tenure? General Singh has said he wants to protect his honour and integrity - basically, have the government accept his claim, so it's clear that he did not try to misrepresent the facts. He also says that his battle is not about when he should retire. In his petition to the Supreme Court, he has said that he accepts that deciding his term is the sole prerogative of the government. But if the court were to accept 1951 as his date of birth, he would be eligible for another year as the head of the Army.
    Read more at: Army chief vs Government: Five new developments

    The government has no authority to change anyone’s age– the court will decide that– the only authority it has is to ask the general to go on leave while the matter is being decided. However, there is something more to it: why is a government so keen to get rid of one of its cleanest generals? In the answer to this question lies the reason for the age row. It is ultimately unlikely to be about the general’s age. Someone up there in government is worried about what the general stands for.
    The govt can ask Gen VK Singh to go, but it can’t change his age

    Brigadier V Mahalingam (Retd)writes...
    No one has so far clarified as to how the Chief going to the Court is not good for the Army. Are they suggesting that the bureaucracy would block all legitimate cases of procurement and modernization? If that be the case, so be it. Indian Army is not the Indian Army’s Army. It is India’s Army and it if for the people to decide what the country needs in terms of defence needs. The bureaucrats are no one to stand in-between the people and national interests. If the bureaucrats decide to field an ill- equipped Army against an adversary and if lives and territory are lost, those concerned will be made to pay a very heavy price by the people.

    Comment: Is AG Branch the legal entity to change date of birth in the Passport, Driving License, Indentity card, PAN, Birth Register, Matric Certificate and other confidential documents of Gen VK Singh. MOD bureaucrats instead of rendering service to the citizens are wholly confused between Power and Authority. Power is to be used for elimination of social evils and corruption and Authority to be used for rendering service to citizens and Nation at large. Right now they are using both to mislead the Nation.

    The corrupt are increasingly becoming role models for the Indian Youth

    Corrupt are becoming role-models for youth in India: Murthy
    Jan 29, 2012

    Are India’s corrupt and the dishonest becoming role-models for youngsters of the country? Software icon NR Narayana Murthy believes so.

    “The number of role-models that our youngsters can look up to is decreasing. How many people in our public life can you be proud of for honesty, courage, commitment and hardwork? And that number is dwindling”, the Co-Founder of Infosys Ltd said.

    “Our youngsters don’t have role-models to look up to and therefore and sadly because of corruption, some of the people who are doing exactly the opposite, dishonest, deceit, chalta hai and all of tha... they are becoming more and more powerful, they are becoming wealthier”, the Chairman Emeritus of the Bangalore-headquartered IT major, listed on the NASDAQ, said.

    “Therefore, our youngsters are getting the wrong signals. They think may be this is the way to succeed. I don’t blame them”, Murthy said at a function here last night to release the book “Upwordly Mobile” written by Founder and CEO of cross-cultural training and services firm Global Adjustments, Ranjini Manian.

    He also said Indians are perhaps the mostm “thin-skinned” people in the world. “We see insults where none is meant. We get upset very easily. We think that somebody is out to make India look bad. That’s not true”.

    Murthy said Indians put the interest of their family ahead of society which “has caused enormous damage to the country”. In someway, there is good way of balancing in the West between the two.

    He also said that Bhagavad Gita does give “all of us a path to peace of mind. That’s what I found”, he observed, adding, the Gita has nothing to do with any religion. It’s a way of life, like Hinduism, Murthy added.

    Ranjini said with 3138 foreign companies currently registered and operating in India and one lakh new MBA graduates in India every year, scope for cultural misunderstandings due to a lack of a common norm of global behaviour is infinite.

    “As Indians increasingly engage with foreigners and foreign companies, cultural intelligence is a crucial tool to succeed in doing business with people to work, dress and behave differently, yet we have to make a concerted effort to understand”, she said. The book is designed to equip Indian managers and their expatriate colleagues with cultural intelligence tools to succeed in business, it was stated. PTI
    Corrupt are becoming role-models for youth in India: Murthy

    Anna Hazare: the role model for the youth
    A simple, retired army man who put his trust in good governance has made a big difference — demonstrating the fact that the Gandhian style of peaceful yet forceful revolution is indeed not a dead philosophy and that the Mahatma's example is very much relevant today. His clarion call to rise up to a good cause should not go unheard. From very humble beginnings, a havildar in the Army, Padma Bhushan Anna Hazare's rise to become a national symbol is a case study in itself. Without any of the usual trappings — namely political allegiance, money power and the retinue of cronies that go into the making of a leader today — he has, with sheer determination, been able to stand up and be counted as a worthy soldier.
    Anna Hazare: the role model for the youth

    Comment: The Military Command and Comtrol is being debased progressively by the corrupt and the bureaucracy, making it almost a spineless and degraded Military Force. Can we take on China- with Bofors like scandal surfacing in every type of weapons deal and purchases in the offing. MOD has lost its credibility amongst the polity of Nations. General VK Singh has proved to be a spoke in the wheel of spinning corruption. The date of birth row has become convenient ruse!

    Space war: Rocket scientists ground Government

    Space War: Facing scientists’ fury, govt yields ground
    FP Staff Jan 29, 2012

    Facing enormous backlash from a galaxy of space scientists over its blacklisting of four scientists, including former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair in a satellite spectrum deal that has since been scrapped, the government appears to be reviewing its punitive action.

    The Telegraph reports that the government had signalled its willingness to reconsider the punishment, and quotes V Narayanasamy, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, as saying that “nothing is final”. The government, he added, “has an open mind. If the scientists feel that their views have not been adequately represented, we are willing to look into this again.”

    On Saturday, scientists came out swinging against the government decision to blackball the four scientists for their alleged role in the satellite spectrum deal. Madhavan Nair was head of Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian space establishment, when it decided to lease out transponders of two of its satellites to the US-based Devas Multimedia.

    The action against the four former ISRO scientists is a drag on scientists' morale. Prof CNR Rao, who heads the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said the government had “thrown out like garbage” the four scientists who had served the country and ISRO with distinction for years (reports PTI)

    “They have not treated corrupt persons in politics, in public life like that. Why have scientists been picked up?” wondered Rao. “Is this the way to treat anybody? Nobody will work for these (government) organisations if this is the way they are treated.”

    Rao specifically criticised Narayanasamy for his reported comments that the government had taken punitive action against the four scientists in order to send “a strong message” to the scientific community that no wrongdoing would be tolerated.

    Rao said this was no way to talk about scientists. “I don’t know where he (Narayanasamy) got his basic education. I am shocked by the way he was on TV and talking like this about scientists in general.”

    Also on Saturday, another former ISRO chairman, UR Rao, said the government’s action against the four scientists – and the public and over-the-top criticism of the scientific community – would impair space scientists’ morale.

    Acknowledging that he did not have the full facts of the case, and that he was not keen to get entangled in the controversy, UR Rao nevertheless said that the manner in which it had been handled, with public outbursts against scientists, was ill-advised.

    “Whatever is happening is not good for the country,” UR Rao said. “It will affect the morale of all the people. The organisation gets affected. After all, one feels proud of an organisation. If morale goes, it does hamper work.”

    Recalling iconic photographs of satellite parts being ferried on bicycles or on bullock carts, UR Rao said that ISRO had a track record of catapulting India, literally, from the “bullock cart age to the space age.” Whereas on average it took 25 years to build a satellite, ISRO scientists had abridged that time to just two-plus years.

    Former Knowledge Commission chairman Dr P M Bhargav has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing displeasure over the blacklisting of Madhavan Nair, saying it reflected a “dictatorial” attitude without any accountability. He wanted the government decision to be put on hold until the committee reports on the satellite spectrum deal were made public.

    On Saturday, Madhavan Nair stepped down as chairman of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Technology-Patna, saying he was morally bound to give up all government positions following the punitive action
    Space War: Facing scientists’ fury, govt yields ground

    Can the Supreme Court bring closure to Army Chief age row?

    The General is fighting for his honour. Only an SC verdict will bring closure to Army chief age row by Venky Vembu Jan 19, 2012
    When a military strategy isn’t going well or risks excessive losses, wisdom lies in reviewing it, even if it entails retreat from entrenched positions.

    The controversy over the date of birth of the Army chief, Gen VK Singh, which has unfortunately pitted the civilian and the military pillars of the state as combatants, now risks going past the point of no return.

    The Army chief is battling to protect his honour over the discrepancy in the military records over his date of birth. The civilian bureaucracy and their ministerial masters had several opportunities to make mid-course correction, but having missed them, it is today unyielding in its defence of its earlier decision regarding the Army chief’s date of birth.

    There is plenty of blame to go around, but primarily, it is bureaucratic cussedness, backed by ministerial mulishness, that has escalated the matter thus far, and even today inhibits the government from accepting a good soldier’s word on the circumstances in which the discrepancy about his date of birth crept into the military records.

    From accounts that are now coming to the surface in the light of the Army chief’s filing before the Supreme Court, his efforts over the years at reconciling the records after the discrepancy in his birthdate first cropped appear to have been systematically blunted.

    Gen Singh has been trying since as early as in 1985 to correct the records, and was told that the correction would be effected in the normal course. Yet, it was never done.

    Assurances from successive army chiefs and ministers that the record would be set right, or that a face-saving and honourable resolution to the embarrassing controversy would be found, have come to nothing.

    Yet, over the years, the Military Secretary branch had tacitly acknowledged, while processing the several illustrious awards that Gen Singh has been decorated with, that his date of birth was indeed 10 May 1951.

    It wasn’t until May 2006 that the matter surfaced again: That month, the Military Secretary branch noted that Gen Singh’s date on its records did not match with the records of the Adjutant General branch.

    In July 2008, Gen Singh was assured by the then Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, that the records would be cleaned up to clear the discrepancy, but the military bureaucracy appears not to have delivered.

    Even up until last week, before Gen Singh crossed the Rubicon and moved the Supreme Court, he was assured by Finance Minister (and former Defence Minister) Pranab Mukherjee that an honourable way out would be worked out, with the government accepting the General’s claim in respect of his date of birth if he agreed to retire in May this year.

    The Indian Express reports that Gen Singh seemed inclined to accept such a compromise formula, provided it would be effected before a public interest petition, filed by an ex-servicemen’s association, came up for hearing before the Supreme Court. (That PIL will now be heard has been dismissed, which was why Gen Singh moved to file his affidavit before the Supreme Court earlier this week.)

    But even that formula was spiked by the defence ministry bureaucracy, virtually forcing Gen Singh to take the unprecedented step of moving the Supreme Court.

    Even now, there are various compromise formulae being floated under which the government would reconcile the military records in a way that accepts Gen Singh’s word – and protects his honour – and simultaneously secure his premature retirement in May this year.

    But such a compromise formula would again be susceptible to legal challenge, because so much else rides on it.

    Under the circumstances, there is a strong a case to allow the Supreme Court to go into the merits of the case, and deliver a verdict on the General’s date of birth. Sure, a court-mandated resolution isn’t the best way to resolve what has escalated into an unseemly tussle between the civilian and military pillars. It may not be as “neat” as a compromise formula.

    But at least it will have the stamp of judicial authority on a contentious issue. It will bring a closure to this sordid episode in a way that a compromise formula, which could again be dragged back to court, will not.
    Only an SC verdict will bring closure to Army chief age row

    Comment by Soumen Sengupta Pundit
    I think the main issue is that with the type of corruption and nepotism going on with the Politicians, nobody believes them. They are losing their credibility hence no Indians are convinced about the logic even it may be right. I think this is a dangerous precedent for a democracy, everybody knows somewhere it needs to end... but the million dollar question is "HOW".

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Degradation of Military Personnel

    Subject: Servicemen - Planned Degradation By Babus
    Date: Saturday, 28 January, 2012, 11:03 PM
    Dear Veterans,
    Maj Dhanapalan has taken the pains to enumerate the injustices heaped upon the Service Personnel, both serving and retired, by the Babus and the Government they control. It is a fact that Commanders at all levels in the Services are blissfully ignorant of the very responsive and progressively beneficial conditions of service in other Departments of GOI vis-à-vis the Armed Forces. To be raised to the next higher rank being most often the focal point of their activities, they are least concerned about the mischief played out by the Babus to degrade the Services both in status and pecuniary benefits. Their own interests and those of the people they command have thus been buried beyond redemption. Our successive Chiefs have, maybe with an odd exception, actively surrendered the privileges and benefits enjoyed by the Services rather than obtaining additional ones, for the sole purpose of pleasing their political masters or at the nudging of Babus. Under such circumstances, one could not expect interests of the ESM to be anywhere near anybody's agenda. For that matter, they are not, even now.
    The present awakening is solely because of the ESM themselves. They have realised that when all the pensioners of Central Services are having a ball it is only them who go begging for a job post retirement. Even an ACP of the Police doesn't do that! While all the country takes it for granted that a 'fauji' has the best of everything, nobody has taken the pains to highlight in the media the plight of the ESM compared to the IAS, IPS and after the Sixth Pay Commission, even the Postal Services!!!
    Therefore, as Maj Dhanapalan exhorts, the fight has to be carried on in all available fora.
    Warm regards.
    Col Sushil Chilimbi

    Dear Veterans,
    In the recent past a few issues have come up in the blog concerning the Armed Forces Personnel and the Veterans. Some are as listed:
    1. Non Functional Upgradation (NFU) to officers.
    2. Amending the Pension Regulations of the Armed Forces.
    3. Non-Implementation of Judgments of AFTs which is around 2000.
    4. Payment of 100% pension to the Veterans up to the age of 60 years (age for superannuation for central Govt employees) and payment of OROP thereafter.
    5. Separate Ministry or a Defense Board (like that of Railway) for Armed Forces Personnel.
    6. Cadre Review (being done at every 5 years in other Departments)
    7. Date of Birth (DOB) issue of Army Chief himself.
    8. Difference of pension between two immediate Ranks is more than Rs.11,000/-PM
    9. Withdrawl of existing Rank Pay by 6th CPC (replacing with grade pay to give additional emoluments to civilian employees and also to create an equation between civ and Mily.)
    10. Majors with more than 15 years of service equated with cadets and Hony Lt (PB-3).
    11. A meaningful resettlement of Armed Forces Veterans.
    12. Dignity (Izzath) of the personnel in uniform/ Protocol/ precedence, v/s civilians.

    The above are some of the major issues that are occupying internet mails and blogs nowadays. The blame is put on the babus of MOD and the Politicians. But one must think honestly. Are they fully responsible for these omissions. What is role of the Service HQs?
    Veteran Dhanapalan

    The General and the labyrinth

    The Hindu January 18, 2012
    The controversy over the age of General V.K. Singh, the subject of an already heated and often unseemly public debate, is now threatening to get out of hand. With the Army Chief left with no resort but to challenge the Defence Ministry in the Supreme Court in order to “protect his integrity and honour,” the issue has the makings of an unseemly civilian-military confrontation that could easily have been avoided had plain common sense prevailed over bureaucratic thick-headedness. There are a slew of documents — including a birth certificate and a school-leaving certificate — that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that General Singh, whose father as well as grandfather were Army officers, was born on May 10, 1951. This is the date of birth recorded in the office of the Adjutant General, the Army's official record-keeper. The controversy has arisen because the Military Secretary — another wing of Army Headquarters that maintains personal records relating to postings, transfers, and promotions — records him as having been born on May 10, 1950. General Singh has been at pains to explain that the latter date, gleaned from an application form for entrance to the National Defence Academy when he was only 14 years old, was a mistake committed by a teacher of his. He has also revealed that the discrepancy was raised with two predecessor Army Chiefs — but, strangely and for reasons the Defence Ministry has not yet disclosed, to no avail.

    A brave and highly decorated officer, General Singh is recognised as a brilliant strategist and a reform-minded leader who is tough on corruption, as reflected in the hard line he adopted against erring officers in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam. The mudslinging and insinuations intended to portray him as someone fiddling with his birth date to hang on to the power and privileges of high office must be rejected with contempt. One major reason why his year of birth has become such a hot potato is that the date of his retirement will have a bearing on who will succeed him as Army Chief. By refusing to accede to General Singh's request to correct the official record on the basis of documented fact, the Defence Ministry has shown astonishing short-sightedness, and in the process tread on a proud soldier's sense of honour. Even now, rather than fight for a bad cause in the highest court in the land, a disputation that could have a bearing on the Army's morale, the government should backtrack and come up with a constructive solution. By conceding General Singh's just case and treating him with the respect and honour that are his due, it should be able to clear the decks for a smooth succession to the post he occupies.
    The General and the labyrinth

    Records to be reconciled?
    Army chief age row: Government wants records reconciled

    Army Chief vs Govt: Should General VK Singh resign?

    Left Right & Centre: A day after the Army Chief dragged the government to the Supreme Court over his age, the government has decided to fight him and stands firm. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held consultations with senior ministers and the Centre has filed a caveat in the court that says it be heard before any order is passed.


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