Revealed: How another Army officer got away with scams
New Delhi: There seems to be no end to troubles for the Defence Ministry, which is already having its share of corruption allegations. Adding more embarrassment to the corruption-hit Ministry, another allegation on an army official has come to the fore.
According to a report published in DNA, a Lieutenant Colonel, accused of misappropriating the ministry's youth funds was allowed to wrongfully use naval facilities as a private operator and got away with one scam after another.
In a case dating back to May 2005, Lt Col Gautam Dutta was named in serious wrongdoings that ranged from over-invoicing of coach boats to excess claim of dearness allowance during international participationbr.
Reporting an incident of financial imporpriety, Commodore AS Bajwa, the then honorary secretary general of the Yachting Association of India (YAI) had named Lt Col Dutta of the Army Yachting Node in Mumbai’s Colaba in a case of financial impropriety.
Even though, A board of inquiry was set up by the Indian Navy in August 2005, Lt Col Dutta’s case was never referred to the Army Headquarters.
But even though he was the only Army officer who had been found guilty of misappropriation, no action was taken.
A senior official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “This was mainly due to the fact that Maj Gen Dutta (Retd), his father, had been intimidating the concerned officers with dire consequences.
According to the DNA report, Lt Col Gautam Dutta’s father, Maj Gen S Dutta, had threatened the inquiry officer Commodore Bajwa for daring to go against his son.”
Further, to avoid inquiry, Lt Col Dutta resigned from the Indian Army toward the end of 2006 and joined his father in selling boats and motor yachts.
In 2007, the YAI initiated disciplinary action against Lt Col Dutta and in Dec 2007, his Life Associate Membership to the YAI was terminated by the General Body. (A copy of the AGM 2007 minutes issued by the YAI is now with DNA).
Tejinder defended Dutta
Interestingly, Adarsh scam beneficiary Lt Gen Tajinder Singh, who was recently named in Army Chief General VK Singh's bribery complaint, was found shielding Lt Col Dutta in the Board of Inquiry from Commodore Bajwa and Captain Rajesh Sarin, the board’s president.
Lt Gen Tejinder had his reasons for defending Lt Col Dutta. As per the reports, Singh went ahead to hush up the Annual Confidential Report (ACR), which listed complaints against Lt Col Gautam Dutta since Maj Gen Dutta was the legal guardian for Tejinder Singh’s daughter when she was studying in Mumbai.
Partners in crime
Gautam Dutta reportedly refunded a sum of Rs 14.86 lakhs to the YAI in 2008. Though this was money that belonged to the government, it was not returned to its source, but signed off as a donation to the YAI, suspending the flow of inquiry.
Some of those who were seen to have helped Dutta continue his corrupt endeavours have since been implicated in the Adarsh scam, while some have been unfortunately misrepresented and have gone on to receive Drona awards.
Surprisingly, all those found guilty of financial irregularities had donated huge amounts of money to the YAI and have resigned from the defence services, and no criminal action was ever taken.
After giving a false statement to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Secretary General rear admiral Monty Khanna has helped the aforementioned offenders get a clean chit.
The donors list on the YAI website shows that Commander Motivala has donated Rs 7.5 lakh and that Applied Nutrition Science (owned by Commander Farookh Tarapore, recipient of Arjuna Award) donated Rs 2.2 lakh after an inquiry found them guilty. Both resigned soon after and returned the cash award money as donation to YAI.
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Comment: Tejinder Singh is well connected with all the Investigation Agencies. He seems to be a conduit for Tatra Scam too- to siphon money to Swiss or similar secret banks. Where did Tejinder Singh get money for booking a flat in Adarsh Housing Society? He is integral to a litany of scams and money laundering. His Political connections needs to be investigated to get to the bottom of all scams. Why is he linked to all the three former Army Chief's. He seems to be making a mockery of Chetwode Motto of IMA. We Veterans pray that Field Marshal Philip Walhouse Chetwode, 1st Baron Chetwode, 7th Baronet of Oakley, GCB, OM, GCSI, KCMG, DSO gets up from his grave and gives Lt Gen Tejinder what he really deserves!
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