Yesterday evening, the team of Head Lines Today, comprising Sawant Gaurav, Manoj Joshi & the anchor Rahul Kanwal, was at it once again with another expose. The Formation involved was 2 Corps, one of our Strike Corps. This time, the Army as well as the well meaning Veteran Fraternity, were left speechless. The onslaught was so vehement, in spite of some sensible points & suggestions made by Gen VP Malik & Ajay Shukla, the Defence Analyst. In normal circumstances, I would have reacted to such expose in a different way. But, viewing the full episode, telecast at 8 pm & 9 pm, I felt some thing is drastically amiss in our system of checks & balances. In fact, it was abundantly clear that any such system is totally absent.
Through out the show, on the top left hand corner of the screen, there was an in set window, showing a Subedar Major of the Provost Unit, counting wads of currency notes given as bribe, in his own office. While counting the currency, he also instructs the contractor to send bills for 3 colour TV sets, 'bills only'.
There was a Lt Col from the Ordnance, seated in a Delhi Restaurant with the under cover contractor, placing orders for Radiator Caps. When the contractor mentioned as to who will believe that a Radiator Cap if quoted as Rs 6,400/- the Lt Col advises him to change the nomenclature to "Cap Radiator with Chain Assembly".
Some of the banners streaming below the show were:
Gen Malik accepted that the expose was in the interest of the Nation & also of the Army. But, by sensationalising the issue the Channel is also doing a great disservice to the morale & reputation of the Army. With deep sense of anguish, visible on his face, he regretted that some where down the line the present lot of officers were caught in five star culture & living beyond their means. In our days the Officers Mess functions used to be better than a five star in its grace & dignity.
In the previous show at 8 pm, Maj Gen Ashok Mehta made a pertinent point that we cannot keep explaining every corruption case in the Army highlighted by the media, as mere aberration by a few individuals.
Is corruption in the Army becoming a habit or still to be regarded as an aberration?
The entire panel agreed on the point that Army does not spare anyone, however high he may be in the hierarchy. Point given said Sawant Gaurav, "but only after the expose from the Media. Where are your checks to ensure that the same is nipped in the bud"?
"Most of the present purchases & bribe pertains to Annual Training Grant. The Generals must show the way. The senior Officers must be held responsible for negligence in carrying out specific checks" said the Anchor. A Col or a Lt Col, the former from the Provost Unit, are senior enough. Still what deprivation they can have after the Sixth CPC, to accept the bribe of a few thousands, at the cost of honour, dignity & fair name of the Army. So, salary is not the criteria any more. Greed is the reason.
At least now the Army should wake up. With the effort of every individual, right from the Jawan to General, the Army's reputation has been built over the decades. The road to such a high pedestal was paved with valour, honour & sacrifice.
Col (Retd) TN Raman
Video Clips Part 1 to 8
Friday | July 30, 2010 | 00:00 IST
Headlines Today's camera exposes how some corrupt Army officers of Ordnance Corps are taking money after passing inflated tenders at the ordnance depots.
Army officers caught taking bribe: click here