This Article is From Jan 11, 2010

Army land scam: Top officer gets away lightly

Army land scam: Top officer gets away lightly
New Delhi: It's a scam that has embarrassed the Indian Army. Yet, the officer at the centre of it all will get away with little more than a slap on the wrist. Lt General Avadhesh Prakash will be asked to explain his role to the Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor. This means Kapoor has overturned what the Army recommended - that Prakash be sacked.

As the Army's Military Secretary, Prakash is one of eight principal staff officers to the Army chief.  An  Army inquiry found that he misused his position to help a businessman wanted a piece of land next to the Army's 33 Corps Headquarters in Siliguri in West Bengal. The Army's inquiry  said Prakash should be sacked for he "became a facilitator in promoting (his friend) Dilip Agarwal's business. He took undue interest in furthering the vested agenda of the businessman and family friend by using his position."

Agarwal reportedly wanted to open a school using this land. The Army, which had earlier told the government that this land could not be sold to any commercial developer for security reasons, okayed the transfer of the land to Agarwal.

Two other senior generals, Lieutenant General PK Rath and Major Gen PC Sen, who were indicted by the same inquiry, are likely to face court martial proceedings.

Sources say the Army is worried that the lack of action against Prakash will affect morale, and will send the message that senior officers  face no consequences for corruption.