Saturday, May 19, 2012

Communal Twist to the Appointment of Army Chief?

With no prejudice
M.G. Devasahayam : Indian Express Sat May 19 2012, 03:36 hrs
‘Four out of the seven petitioners are from Tamil Nadu and have nothing to do with the communal conundrums of North India. And so the mud will not stick’

Shekhar Gupta’s article on the “communal twist” in the PIL filed in the Supreme Court by seven “prominent citizens” (‘With prejudice’, National Interest, IE, April 28) is far from the truth and is unfortunate. I, being one of the petitioners, owe an explanation as to the facts to put the record straight.
In this context some paragraphs from the writ petition have been quoted. These passages are mere narrations of events that were neither rebutted by the government through any counter-affidavit nor during “preliminary” arguments by the Attorney General or Solicitor General in the Supreme Court. Nowhere in the entire petition is there any “communal twist” except mentioning some names in connection with the events narrated. The petitioner’s counsel did not even raise this issue during her arguments.
Tweaking the words “orders from above” the article insinuates that “above” meant Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and he is portrayed as communal. Nothing can be more absurd. My acquaintance with Manmohan Singh dates back to the mid-1970s, when I was administrator of Chandigarh and I know him rather well to even remotely suggest that he is communal! By the way, is the PM the only person “above” Defence Minister A.K.Antony?
One wonders as to why Operation Bluestar, that had no relationship with the issues raised in the PIL, has been given such a long narration. Nevertheless, this being a sensitive matter I would share some of my own information and that obtained from sources that were part of the operation. The fact is that Operation Bluestar was neither led by the then Major General K.S. Brar nor Lt Gen R.S. Dyal. The “strike force” was a bizarre khichadi comprising of two infantry battalions (26 Madras and 10 Guards) under a nominated brigade commander (D.V. Rao) of the Madras Regiment. There were no Sikh troops in this strike force.
In total contravention of the army’s operational ethics, these battalions were taken out of their command set up and put under Brigadier Rao as an ad hoc arrangement. Major General Brar’s role was just that 10 Guards was part of 9 Inf Div of which he was GOC. What is worse, Lt Gen K. Sundarji as army commander, Western Command, took direct control of the operation by-passing the Jalandhar-based 11th Corps commanded by Lt Gen Gowri Shankar. Such blatant cannibalisation of the fighting forces and the general officer’s keenness to please Prime Minister Indira Gandhi led to utter chaos and unacceptably huge carnage and extensive damage to the sacred Amritsar Golden Temple.
Be that as it may, let us see the core reasons that prompted the petitioners to knock at the door of the Supreme Court. To start with, it was the defence ministry’s manipulations to cut short the tenure of General V.K. Singh and the premature announcement of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next army chief without finally resolving the date of birth issue of the former. Documents in the MS Branch prove that selection boards for the promotion of V.K. Singh to the select ranks of Brigadier (September 1996) Major General (October 25 2001 and September 18/19 2003) and Lieutenant General (September 30 2005) reflect his DoB as May 10, 1951. But ignoring all these, the issue was raked up by former COAS General J.J. Singh with an ulterior motive to cut short the present army chief’s tenure.
In its order dated February 10 2012, the Supreme Court had neither endorsed the entry in the UPSC application form (May 10 1950), nor upheld the so-called “commitment” given by V.K. Singh regarding his DoB. Also, contrary to wide publicity, the court had taken no position on the general’s DoB and left it to the “Union of India” to recognise one of the two DoBs (1950 or 1951). It had also allowed the government to withdraw the operative part (merits) of its December 30, 2011, order in which it had rejected Gen V.K. Singh’s statutory complaint seeking recognition of 1951 as his year of birth. With the merit part withdrawn, the original statutory complaint stands revived. MoD since then had not passed any legally speaking order recognising the actual DoB of General V.K. Singh before announcing his successor.
The next issue was J.J. Singh’s plan to eliminate others from amongst Lt Gen Bikram’s contemporaries from the race. The main target was Brigadier Ravi Arora, gold medalist, senior in IC number but younger in age to Bikram Singh. This has been explained in detail in the PIL. More important grounds were the grave allegations pending against the army chief designate. One is his alleged involvement in the fake-encounter death of a 70-year-old man, and thereafter branding him as a terrorist to achieve personal advantages, and this matter pending in writ petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking a commission of inquiry. The second case related to events in the Congo Republic when in 2007-08 then Major General Bikram Singh was the Eastern Division Commander of the UN peacekeeping force. Indian troops under his command had been accused of mass sexual abuse. Sixty-eight cases, including the siring of illicit children, had been reported, and the matter is being investigated by a court of inquiry at Meerut. When P.J. Thomas was appointed as Central Vigilance Commissioner, and the Centre for Public Litigation challenged it, a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar declared the CVC as India’s “integrity institution” and not only struck down the appointment but had castigated the government for its lack of respect for institutional integrity. Thomas had just one corruption case against him for which an application to seek his prosecution was pending.
The primary responsibility of the Indian Army is to preserve national interests and safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of India against any external threat by deterrence or by waging war. In the event our army is as important an “integrity institution” as the Central Vigilance Commission, if not more.
The petitioners therefore contended that as there were two serious cases pending against Lt Gen Bikram Singh, it will not be prudent to appoint him as the next COAS. Drawing a parallel with the P.J. Thomas case, where the Supreme Court had overturned his appointment on the grounds that at the time of approval by the ACC an application was pending to prosecute the officer, the plea in the PIL was for applying the same yardstick in the matter of the appointment of the next COAS. Individuals and names mentioned in the PIL were only incidental.
The petitioners had hoped that the apex court will reiterate the well-reasoned verdict of its own larger bench and uphold the institutional integrity of the Army that is being ravaged by a well entrenched coterie. Instead our petition was summarily disposed off with these crisp words: “We have carefully gone through the averments made in the writ petition, the materials placed on record by the petitioners and the original file concerning appointment of the next Chief of Army Staff. We do not find any justifiable ground to invoke our jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. Writ petition is, accordingly, dismissed. However, it is clarified that dismissal of writ petition shall not affect the legal proceeding or matter pending in the court or any other forum.”
The dismissal is based on a clearance report given by the Intelligence Bureau. One wonders whether IB has jurisdiction to give such clearance on matters pending before a high court and a court of inquiry, particularly so when the Supreme Court has allowed these proceedings to continue. It is in this context that the perilous implication of the court order needs to be understood. These twin “Swords of Damocles” hanging over the head of the army chief severely compromise the institutional integrity of the army. Is this what our valiant army deserves? All that the petitioners wanted to do was to avoid such horrid embarrassment and restore the integrity of the institution. For this “communal” charges are being hurled at us.
As to this “communal mudslinging” it will be pertinent to point out that four out of the seven petitioners — Admiral Ramdas, N. Gopalaswamy, Sam Rajappa and myself — are from Tamil Nadu and have nothing to do with the communal conundrums of North India. And so the mud will not stick. We have done what we have to do with pride and without any prejudice.
The writer is a former bureaucrat
With no prejudice

Lt Gen Tejinder Singh adopts Military Tactics: Deception

Twin Scamster Tejinder Singh: Does he have a Political Godfather?
Adarsh scam: CBI quizzes Lt Gen Tejinder Singh
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 20:24 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The CBI has questioned Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, named by Army Chief Gen VK Singh as the person who had allegedly offered him a bribe of Rs14 crore, in connection with the Adarsh Society scam here.
CBI sources said he was quizzed yesterday about how he got a flat in the controversial society, the source of his funds and to check the veracity of documents.
When contacted, Singh said over phone that he was not an accused in the scam and was called by CBI to verify some facts about his flat in the Adarsh Socie"They had asked me how I had purchased the flat, what was the source of funding, my income and genuineness of my signatures on the documents... It's a normal process and all other members of the society have also been questioned by the CBI," Singh says.
Adarsh Housing society had come under CBI scanner after it was alleged that land which was allotted by the state for welfare of servicemen and their widows was in fact used for the benefit of relatives of politicians, public servants and senior service officers including former army chiefs.
The then Maj Gen Tejinder Singh was Commander of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat region between 2005-07 and has a flat in the society.
The Comptroller and Auditor General in its report on the scam last year had pointed out that all service officers except one who were in-charge in Maharashtra between February 1998 and July 2010, became beneficiaries as per the list of the members of the society.
Tejinder Singh, a former director general of Defence Intelligence Agency, had been questioned by the CBI in New Delhi connection with the alleged bribe offer made to Army Chief VK Singh. He had filed a defamation complaint against the Army Chief and four other Army officials rejecting the allegations that he had offered the bribe for clearing a deal for 600 "sub-standard" vehicles.
Tatra scam: CBI questions Tejinder Singh

2G Scam: It takes two to tango

In a startling revelation that may land many political heavyweights in trouble, BJP claimed to have unearthed an "ambulance scam" in Rajasthan, involving sons of union home minister P Chidambaram and minister for Oversees Indian Affairs Valayar Ravi.

Dr. Subramanian Swamy has come up with new documents which confirms P.Chidambaram's alleged role in 2G scam.P Chidambaram and A Raja met and fixed the pricing of 2G together.

Home Minister P Chidambaram's son Karthi is set to sue Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy over his corruption allegations. Speaking to NewsX Subramanian Swamy said he will wait for a law suit to be filed first before taking any action. Mr Swamy alleged publicly yesterday that Karti benefited in 2006 from his father's position as Finance Minister to earn huge profits during the sale of telecom Aircel. Mr Swamy had not produced any documentary evidence to substantiate his claims.
Related Reading
Aircel-Maxis deal: Chidambaram must resign, says BJP TNN May 9, 2012, 03.57AM IST

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tatra drives holes in Army's Budget: Politicians and Bureaucrats Coffers and Pockets Padded

May 18, 2012 at 06:48am IST
BEML fleecing Army, providing poor service

New Delhi: In fresh trouble for defence PSU BEML, the Defence Ministry has received a complain accusing it of charging exhorbitant rates for spare parts of vehicles.
A copy of the complaint has been accessed by CNN-IBN. According to the complaint, BEML was over charging for spare parts of armoured recovery vehicles.
The complaint has cited cost escalation of up to 800 per cent in spare parts bought from BEML. The Defence Ministry has received a complaint accusing BEML of charging exorbitant rates for spare parts of vehicles.
New Delhi: In fresh trouble for defence PSU BEML, the Defence Ministry has received a complain accusing it of charging exhorbitant rates for spare parts of vehicles.
A copy of the complaint has been accessed by CNN-IBN. According to the complaint, BEML was over charging for spare parts of armoured recovery vehicles.
The complaint has cited cost escalation of up to 800 per cent in spare parts bought from BEML. The Defence Ministry has received a complaint accusing BEML of charging exorbitant rates for spare parts of vehicles.
Non-return valve, which costs an estimated Rs 1,600 was supplied by BEML at Rs 39,550 in 2008-09, whereas, bolts that cost Rs 424 were sold by BEML at Rs 15,480 in the same year.
The complaint further says that in 2010-11, truck axle available for Rs 5,242, were sold by BEML for Rs 1.25 lakh, which is an escalation of over 2000 per cent.
BEML fleecing Army, providing poor service
Related reading
CBI intensifies probe on Tatra deal; questions more people
Complex Tatra purchase deal making holes in Army's budget
Comment:Liechtenstein trusts legal claims Ravi Rishi. The scamster's flourishing business is all about a perfect money laundering cycling route in tax havens which will be buried like Bofors by CBI.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

President's Pune Home: Is surrender of land a diversionary tactic?

President returns Pune plot to Govt.
April 28, 2012 2:20 am
President Pratibha Patil, who has recently come at the centre of a controversy over her post-retirement home in Pune, on Friday decided to give up the controversial plot back to the government.
Confirming the development, the Presidential spokesperson said, “President Patil has decided to give up the Pune land on which a bungalow, meant to be her post-retirement home, was to be built back to the government.”
“The President is answerable to the people of India, Constitution and her conscience. The land will remain with the government,” Presidential spokesperson said. The controversy about President Pratibha Patil’s post-retirement home erupted after an organisation of ex-servicemen in Pune alleged that over fives acres of land had been allotted for purpose of her residence after she demits office later in July this year when her five-year term ends.
Suresh Patil, a retired Lt Col of the Pune-based ‘Justice for Jawan’, part of NGO ‘Green Thumb’ group, who has accessed details about the Government’s measures for providing her housing in Pune, claimed that a large extent of land measuring over 2.60 lakh square feet had been allotted to her in Khadki cantonment in Pune.
He claimed that a house with a plinth area of 4,500 square feet was being built for her by bringing down two British-era county bungalows. The former Army official questioned why such a large extent of land was being fenced to protect this house for Pratibha Patil, who recently made news when an RTI application brought out the fact that over Rs 205 crore were spent on her foreign travels.
President returns Pune plot to Govt.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Rank One Pension: Babu's Spin the Government

Himachal ex-servicemen to honour Army Chief V K Singh
Press Trust of India / Dharamsala May 15, 2012, 00:05

The Himachal Pradesh ex-servicemen's league will honour Army Chief General V K Singh on May 25 here for his stand on the alleged corruption in the armed forces.
"The working and the retired band of soldiers in the state are impressed with the General, the way he has exposed the ugly underbelly of the corruption in the forces," Chairman of the state ex-servicemen's league, Major Vijay Singh Mankotia said.
Stating that Himachal Pradesh was the only state in the country to get four Param Vir Chakras, he said the families of soldiers who have given the supreme sacrifice will be honoured by the Army chief on the day.
The demand for 'One-Rank, One-Pension,' and other issues will also be raised at the rally on May 25, he said.
Himachal ex-servicemen to honour Army Chief V K Singh
Read more
Gen VK Singh to address ex-servicemen on May 25 Tribune News Service

Centre in agreement with principle of ‘One Rank One Pension’
The Ministry of Defence is in agreement with the principle of ‘One Rank One Pension’ demand of the ex-servicemen, said Chief of Army staff General V K Singh.
Addressing a rally of the ex-servicemen here, he said the implementation of the One Rank One Pension involved an expenditure of Rs 1300 crore.
He added that the implementation could not be made time bound as such decisions had to pass through several levels of the government before becoming a reality.
The government had, however, agreed to the demand, he added.
Gen Singh also said that he had introduced several plans to bridge the gap between the veterans and the serving army officials.
To sort out their demands he had set up a ‘Veteran Cell’ in the Army two years ago. He conceded that it was the duty of the Army to ensure that the rights of the ex-servicemen were taken care of.
Assuring the ex-servicemen “You will certainly get your rights and will not have to ask for it”, the Chief of Army staff said, 20 more centres would soon be set up in Punjab under the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme.
The army chief further said that he had written to the government to restore the old system of Canteen Store Departments (CSD) to the Army as the current system was not working to the satisfaction of the defence personnel.
Later talking to media persons, Gen Singh when asked about his letters to the Government on the issues of corruption and the inadequate stores in the armaments, Gen Singh said that the ball was now in the court of the government.
“I have done my duty, now it is for the government to act”, he added.
Centre in agreement with principle of ‘One Rank One Pension’

Monday, May 14, 2012

Babu shunted for leaking Army Chief's Top Secret Letter

Senior officer leaked army chief's letter to PM
May 13, 2012 21:58 IST
A joint secretary-rank officer in the Cabinet Secretariat has been found guilty of leaking Army Chief General V K Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] about the poor state of preparedness of his force and has been shunted out.
A probe into the leakage by the Prime Minister's Office has also cleared General Singh of any wrongdoing in the episode, highly-placed sources said.
In his letter, the army chief had highlighted the critical shortage of equipment and ammunition in artillery and armoured regiments.
The female officer, belonging to the Indian Economic Service, was handling the charge of intelligence agencies under the Cabinet Secretariat and was nailed after interrogation of some suspected people.
The officer has now been repatriated to her parent cadre and further action can be taken against her for leaking such a sensitive document, sources said.
After the letter surfaced, both the Houses of Parliament were rocked over the issue and certain parties had demanded action against General Singh.
At that time, General Singh had said that incident should be treated as "high treason" and the source of leakage should be dealt with "ruthlessly."
"The leakage of the letter should be treated as high treason. Cynical approach to tarnish my reputation should stop. Sources of the leakage should be found and dealt with ruthlessly," General Singh had said in a statement issued by the army headquarters. Following the incident, the government had asked the Intelligence Bureau to investigate the matter and find out the person responsible for it.
The letter was leaked to the media after General Singh made a sensational disclosure in an interview that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by a retired lieutenant general for favouring a sub-standard defence deal regarding the purchase of army trucks.

Readers comments sample
  • apology by aam admi on May 14, 2012 12:15 AM those political leaders, who abused and blamed the General for leaking the letter to Media, should apologise to General VK Singh, if they have left any grace in their behaviour, they should not shout and abuse people of the society in Parliament as and when they wish.This is disgraceful on their part.
  • by Raghvendra Singhon May 13, 2012 10:37 PM
    Time and again it has come to light that General VK Singh has been correct in all his statements and actions. Yet every time there has been biased reporting against him, asking for his head. He has not been allowed to serve for an additional year as is rightfully his due, history will forever remember this. It is a National loss, but he will do his bit for the country in whatever direction Destiny will take him.
    Senior officer leaked army chief's letter to PM
    Babu shunted for 'leaking' army chief's letter
    Army chief letter leak: Cabinet Secretariat officer found guilty
    Government's Denial Drama and Dilemma
    It's very understandable why the Prime Minister's office and the government is hurriedly issuing a denial because it gives a clean chit to the Army Chief but raises some alarming questions on the government's role behind this Army Chief controversy, and with the Opposition bound to corner the government once again on this, one can understand why the Prime Minister's office wants to step in and issue a denial.
    Read More: Click here for the original post
    Comment: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is correct when he said "After 60 years we are not a perfect Democracy". What he missed out was that we are fast graduating into a Banana Republic. The treatment meted out to a Patriotic Gen VK Singh by the Government speaks volumes of its gradual graduation!
  • Sunday, May 13, 2012

    MP: Lokayukta finds treasure in Health Directors House

    Lokayukta recovers 2 passports of Madhya Pradesh health director
    Press Trust of India | Updated: May 13, 2012 10:19 IST
    Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Health Director A N Mittal was found to possess two passports in his name during a raid conducted by Lokayukta police at his residence in Bhopal on Saturday, police said.
    There are two passports in the name of A N Mittal. While one is a UN passport issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the other is a regular passport issued by the Indian Government, they said.
    According to rules, when an additional passport is issued to a person, the regular passport has to be deposited with the government. Keeping two passports at the same time is a criminal offence and a case can be registered against the person under the Passport Act. The raid on Mittal's and Junior Auditor Ganesh Prasad Kirar's residences were conducted by Lokayukta, during which assets worth over Rs. 100 crore were unearthed.
    Police have sent teams to Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh to probe the illegal deals, in which, Mittal is said to have been involved.
    Rs. 38 lakh cash, foreign currency including 3,000 Euros and 1,000 Australian dollars have been recovered from Mittal's house, police said.
    Lokayukta recovers 2 passports of Madhya Pradesh health director
    Comment: There are hundreds of more scumbags like Mittal waiting to be nabbed. Corrupt bureaucrats assets and properties need to be confiscated and used for schools and medical hospitals.

    CBI speeds up at snail's pace: Will it house Adarsh and track Tatra?

    Legal advisor to DGP figures in Adarsh scam
    The CBI has asked the state Director General of Police to probe the role of his legal advisor into a money laundering scam after his name figured during interrogation of suspects arrested in a bribery case involving former MLC Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani.
    The Anti-Corruption wing of CBI in Mumbai has dashed a letter to state DGP K Subramaniam asking him to probe into complicity and involvement of legal advisor M P Lalwani into the offence of money laundering exposed following the arrest of Gidwani and tax consultant J K Jagiasi in March this year.
    While sources in CBI confirmed that a letter has been sent to the state police headquarters, DGP K Subramaniam told Mirror that he was yet to receive any such communication from CBI.
    On March 6, the CBI Anti-Corruption Wing had arrested Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani, his son Kailash, tax consultant J K Jagiasi and CBI counsel Mandar Goswami on the charge that Jagiasi was attempting to bribe the CBI counsel on Gidwani’s behalf to tip off in case the CBI contemplated any action in the Adarsh scam.
    During Jagiasi’s interrogation, CBI seized some documents which showed that Jagiasi had allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from Lalwani in cash, and subsequently the money was deposited in Lalwani’s wife’s bank account in parts by cheque. CBI suspects the exchange of money could be part of a money laundering racket scam involving Jagiasi and which led to his arrest.
    Jagiasi, during interrogation, is alleged to have admitted that he received the sum from Lalwani, but did not provide any further details about the reason why the money was deposited. “We have written to the state police headquarters to probe the role of Lalwani through its competent agencies as Lalwai is a state government officer and the matter does not come under our purview. We have also tipped off other central agencies about the deal,” CBI sources said.
    Jagiasi, chartered accountant, was arrested twice by the CBI in the past five months. Before his arrest for allegedly bribing the CBI counsel on behalf of Gidwani, Jagiasi was arrested in February for allegedly promising an Air India official involved in a CBI anti-corruption case, to dilute the case if he paid Rs 50 lakhs.
    When contacted, Lalwani admitted he was known to Jagiasi, but said the money he had received from Jagiasi was an education loan. “I needed money for my son’s education and hence borrowed it from Jagiasi. There is nothing wrong in borrowing money,” Lalwani said.
    Legal advisor to DGP figures in Adarsh scam
    Express news service
    Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 0042 hrs IST

    The naval authorities had never approached the Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) objecting against the Occupational Cetificate (OC) issued to Adarsh Cooperative Housing, chief secretary and former metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, Ratnakar Gaikwad has told the Adarsh Commission. The two-member panel looking into irregularities in the 31-storey building, was examining Gaikwad who had given the OC to the building in 2010 when he was with the MMRDA.
    Adarsh scam: Navy didn’t directly approach MMRDA to object OC, says Gaikwad
    Tatra trucks scam: CBI questions more people
    TNN May 9, 2012, 03.25AM IST
    Tatra Scam Probe|Ravinder Rishi|CBI|BEML
    NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation has intensified its probe to unearth alleged irregularities in procurement and supply of all-terrain Tatra trucks to the Army and has called some former defence ministry officials and executives of Vectra, involved in the deal, for questioning. Agency sources said they had found documents suggesting the role of some government officials in the multi-crore deal between Tatra Sipox (UK) and public sector undertaking BEML. However, the officials questioned on Tuesday were of middle-level posts.
    Tatra Scam


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