Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sukhna Scam: Lt Gen Prakash dismissed from service

Sukhna land scam: Lt Gen Prakash found guilty
3 Dec 2011, 1119 hrs IST, TIMES NOW

Lt Gen Avdesh Prakash was on Saturday (December 3) found guilty in the Sukhna land scam case. The LT Gen was found guilty in 3 of 4 charges in the case, including misuse of his official position. The court martial was held in Guwahati yesterday and was presided over by Lt Gen Philip Campos.

The quantum of punishment against Prakash will be announced later today.

Earlier this year, Army punished another senior officer and former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen PK Rath who also played a role in the Sukhna land scam. Rath was awarded demoted as punishment and his pension was also cut.

Both Avadesh Prakash and Rath had been earlier indicted by a court of inquiry constituted by the Army in 2010.

The Sukhna land scam was exposed in 2008 when a move to transfer land in West Bengal's Siliguri district to a private educational trust was brought to light by the media. Following the expose the Army initiated disciplinary proceedings against all senior Army officials involved.
Lt Gen Prakash found guilty

Sukna scam: Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash guilty, dismissed from service
Published: Saturday, Dec 3, 2011, 11:03 IST | Updated: Saturday, Dec 3, 2011, 12:46 IST
Place: GUWAHATI | Agency: PTI

Former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash was today found guilty on three counts by an Army court here in the Sukna land scam case following which he was dismissed from service.
The dismissal means he will not be entitled to any benefits like pension.
However, the court gave Lt Gen Prakash, the senior-most Army officer to face court martial, benefit of doubt on the fourth count of committing a civil offence.
61-year-old Prakash was held guilty of misusing his position under the Army Act section 45 (conduct unbecoming of his position as an officer) and section 52 (intent to defraud) by the General Court Martial at the 51 sub area of the army station at Narengi.
click here to read more


Adarsh Scam: Generals lie to Parliament for allotment of houses

Kiran Tare August 5, 2011 | UPDATED 22:00 IST
Generals lied on Adarsh
Army generals in Adarsh Housing Society scam

Parliament was told a lie by the office of LT Gen G.S. Sihota, who headed the Southern command, the highest authority of the area

An internal inquiry of the Indian Army has revealed that two of its generals lied on the possession of land where the controversial Adarsh Society stands in Mumbai. The land was owned by the Maharashtra government but is in the possession of the army which maintained a 'Khukri eco-park'. However, in a crucial misrepresentation in 2003, the head of Southern Command in Pune and the chief of the Mumbai-headquartered Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa (MG&G) area told Parliament that the army did not possess the land. Though the report has not named any officer, army records show Lt Gen G.S. Sihota was heading the Southern Command and Major Gen T.K. Kaul was the chief of MG&G area. Both Sihota and Kaul were allotted flats in Adarsh. This lie, in response to a question in the Lok Sabha on December 18, 2003, allowed a speedy handover of the plot to the state government, which allowed the society to be built.

The confidential inquiry report, a copy of which is with India Today, blames the Southern Command and MG&G headquarters for the mess. The report states that there appeared to be no reason for vacating the land in favour of the society. MG&G headquarters wrote to the Mumbai city collector on March 30, 2000, stating that the land was outside the defence boundary and that "action at your end may be taken as deemed fit for the welfare of service persons, ex-servicemen and their widows."

Three commanders of Southern Command - General N.C. Vij, General Deepak Kapoor and Sihota, as well as then sub-area commander Kaul - were allotted flats in Adarsh Society. Vij and Kapoor surrendered their flats after the controversy broke out in September 2009. The report states that they were the final authority for all clearances given to Adarsh. The inquiry was ordered by army chief General V.K. Singh early this year. He had sought answers to the status of the land allotted to Adarsh, reasons for the allegations and whether the land was under the occupation of the army before it was handed over.

Corroborating the army report, Brigadier Deepak Saxena of the MG&G area admitted before the Adarsh Inquiry Commission on July 27 that the reply given to Parliament in 2003 was incorrect. "The Ministry of Defence (MoD) was aware of the fact that a building was going to come up on the land in question and yet it did not file any suit for injunction restraining Adarsh Society from making any construction," he said. He also admitted the army knew that the Adarsh land had been included by the state government in the draft development plan of the area. Under this plan, the land was earmarked for widening of Captain Prakash Pethe Marg.

When India Today contacted Kaul on his mobile, he first confirmed he was the retired Major General T.K. Kaul but when asked about the issue, he said, "Woh to abhi ghar par nahi hain. (He is not at home). I will give him your message." Sihota, who has also retired, refused to comment. "Whatever reply was given (to Parliament) is on record with the Southern Command and only the Command will reply on this matter," he said. A senior army officer says it is difficult to move against the generals for any offence because the Army Act ceases to apply after retirement.

The army's inquiry ends the argument over ownership of the 40,000 sq ft plot. However, it does not help the Rs.900-crore Adarsh Society acquire legal status. The society is accused of flouting the Coastal Regulatory Zone Act.

The report also blames the Defence Estates department, the custodian of all defence land, for not getting the Adarsh plot for the army in exchange for defence land ceded in 1956 for constructing the Western Express Highway. The report says the land was transferred by the Southern Command despite adverse remarks by two Defence Estates officials. In July 2003, the then Defence Estates officer (DEO), Saurav Ray, wrote to the Command saying the army could have constructed residential accommodation on the land given to Adarsh. The society countered that Ray was harming the interests of ex-servicemen and war widows as he was not allotted a flat.

The then director general of Defence Estates (DGDE), Veena Maitra, raised doubts about the society's chief promoter R.C. Thakur, a retired Defence Estates employee . In a letter to the Command on March 8, 2004, Maitra stated that the possibility of tampering with land records could not be ruled out as Thakur promoted the society in association with a local politician, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, then Shiv Sena MLC. The Command rubbished Maitra's doubts. On May 25, 2004, it said in a letter that the land was never handed over by the state government to the army. It stated: "It is the role of the dgde to get land from state government in lieu of land handed over at Santa Cruz. They have done nothing about it." This was a turnaround from a July 4, 2003, MG&G HQ letter which said: "Land in question has been in the physical possession of the army and its ownership has not been questioned." However, the same hq filed a reply to Parliament stating the land was never possessed by the army. What made the army change its mind is now the subject of investigations.

MoD counsel Dhiren Shah said he was unaware of the army's inquiry. "An officer who was unaware of the facts could have prepared the report," he said. DEO Geeta Kashyap told the Adarsh Inquiry Commission on May 25 that there is no record to show the MoD owns the land. However, the next day she said the land was in dispute.

Lawyer and former IPS officer Y.P. Singh, who had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court demanding that Adarsh be razed, says demolition is inevitable. "There is no provision of later-on clearance in the Environment (Protection) Act. So the chances of the society's survival are slim," he says.
Read more at: click here for original T of I report

Army strengthens Borders

Army chief releases cover of Project Himank
Leh (J&K): Army Chief General VK Singh on Friday dedicated a commemorative cover on the glorious 25 years of Project Himank launched by Border Roads Organisation for development of road communication in the Ladakh region.
General Singh, who had arrived in Leh, released the commemorative cover of Project Himank, aptly known as 'Mountain Tamers'.
The project started on December 4, 1985 at Leh exclusively for the development of road communication in Ladakh region, which till 1960 was connected with the rest of the country only by mule tracks, a defence spokesman said.
All units and roads of the project are located in high altitude areas at heights above 10,000 feet, he said, adding that there are nine major passes in the project ranging from 12,200 feet to 18,380 feet, he said.
PTI First Published: Friday, December 02, 2011, 08:12
Army chief releases cover of Project Himank

Indian Army gifts Engg equipments to Myanmarese counterpart
Imphal, November24: The 45th Indo-Myanmar Border Liaison Meeting between Indian Army Officers and Myanmar Army Officers is being held at Myanmar from Nov 24 to 28 Nov 11. A fourteen member Indian Army Delegation headed by Major General Binoy Poonnen, GOC Red Shield Division under the aegis of HQ 3 Corps left today morning for Myanmar to attend the Indo-Myanmar Border Liaison Meeting said a press release of the PIB (Defence)
The Indo-Myanmar Border Liaison Meet is a landmark event where representatives of both the Armies interact and exchange views on matters relating to security of border areas and measures to be initiated to control insurgency in both countries. The event also gives an opportunity to all the delegates to exchange views which help in further strengthening the friendly bond and co-operation between both the countries.
Major General Binoy Poonnen, VSM also handed over 18 Tippers to the Myanmar Army as part of assistance to Myanmar for Road construction today at border town of Moreh. The Myanmar Army was represented by an officer from RCC Kalay, who took over these Tippers. The event was attended by Indian Army delegation and officials of Myanmar Army, according to the press release.
Indian Army gifts Engg equipments to Myanmarese counterpart

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Refund of AGIF and Life Certificate

Government Notifications
Dear Fellow Veterans,
1. Please go through the Govt Notification as below where in Govt has amended its rules and have allowed an alternative to the submission of Life Certificate in person to your Pension paying Banks.
2. A simple certificate which I as a 2Lt used to sign for our CSO who had just retired, is good enough as per Annx XVll given in the advert (Now yearly). I used to feel embarrassed when he used to come to my office in Jammu despite my insistance that I will have the same delivered at his residence every month. Great Old Man who said "No Baba Rules are Rules I have to appear in front of you in flesh and blood before you sign this certificate".
Brig Narinder Dhand (Veteran)

Ex-servicemen form panels
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, November 25
A joint action committee has been formed by some ex-servicemen organisations here recently for launching a joint drive for the fulfillment of their demands.
Balvir Singh Sidhu (Ex-Servicemen Welfare Organisation) has been made chairman of the action committee. Roshan Singh (Defence Ex-Servicemen Brotherhood), Jaswant Singh Kumbrra (Rashtriya Sainik Dal), Hakam Singh (Silent Snake Soldier Society) and Buta Singh (Army Ex-Servicemen Welfare Committee) have been made members of the committee. Balwant Singh Bhullar from Muktsar has been made advisor.
Ex-servicemen form panels

Will a Nation Plagued by Power Shortages Develop?

Will citizens get a respite from daily power outages
Look at our visual Power Transmission standards!
I'm sure all of you have seen this in the cities. It makes us think of the thread of the guy who was questioning whether or not we have electrical engineers at all in India. So scary it's almost funny. Note that there are people that actually have to work on this mess and rig up such a cobweb.

Second set of reforms being prepared to unlock power sector
by Sujay Mehdudia
Struggling to meet the 11th Plan revised target of 62,000 MW of capacity addition from 78,000 MW, due to shortage of coal, non-availability of gas, high cost of imported coal and tardy pace of various power projects, the United Progressive Alliance-II government is preparing to unleash a second set of power sector reforms, including open access to consumers to choose their electricity supplier and restructuring of power utilities of seven major States — including Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The reforms come in the backdrop of a recent report that revealed that the accumulated losses of the power utilities across the country ran into Rs. 1.5 lakh crore and annual losses were around Rs. 55,000 crore putting a severe strain on the financial health of the distribution utilities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to chair a high-level meeting to discuss the proposals aimed at unlocking the power sector and making it more attractive for private investment.

Report under way
The report on the reforms prepared by Planning Commission member (Energy) B.K. Chaturvedi is being finalised by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahuwalia, and the Law Ministry. It is expected to be finalised by March 2012.

Under the recommendations on Open Access, the view is that distribution licences should inform all consumers of 1MW and above that they could choose their electricity supplier. Other suggestions are: State power utilities should provide power to open access consumers at negotiated rates and not regulated rates; the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions should specify reasonable tariffs to be charged by distribution companies for providing standby supply; State load despatch centres should be upgraded in a time-bound manner to enable open access and 25 per cent of discretionary allocation of 15 per cent of central public sector undertakings generation must be made available for direct sale to open access consumers.

Expert group set up
An expert group has been constituted under Mr. Chaturvedi to make an assessment of the cumulative losses of distribution utilities of the seven major States. It has been asked to suggest a strategy for capital restructuring of these power discoms, including commitment by other stakeholders like State governments. It would also suggest a roadmap and monitoring mechanism for implementation of above.
Second set of reforms being prepared to unlock power sector


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