Saturday, November 3, 2012

First rate people of India victim of third rate Governance

We have to completely overthrow this system: Kejriwal
by Danish Raza Nov 3, 2012
Continuing his attack on the government over corruption and inflation, India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal has asked Delhiites to switch off appliances at their homes for an hour (7 pm to 8 pm) today as a show of protest against electricity tariff hike.
In his tweets this morning, he reiterated that the Sheila Dikshit government increased the tariff to benefit power distribution companies.
Commenting on the Uttar Pradesh government dropping money laundering cases against Amar Singh, Kejriwal tweeted that it was shameful. “Is this criminal justice system? We have to completely overthrow this system. Next Mulayam Singh will withdraw cases against Salman Khurshid. Wait n watch. And in return, congress wud withdraw cases against mulayam,” he tweeted from the handle @ArvindKejriwal7.
In one of the tweets, he said the current crop of politicians gave no hope to India and these leaders and the system ought to be overthrown.
Since he started exposing corruption in political establishment, people have been providing him with information, reading which, he was shocked, he said.
“I am shocked to read all this, the extent of corruption. It is so crystal clear that there is just one reason for rising prices — corruption. Prices wud increase much more in coming years if something urgent were not done. It wud become impossible for people to live. There is just one hope — the people of India. Indians are first rate people who are victims of third rate system and third rate politicians,” Kejriwal said in his successive tweets today.
We have to completely overthrow this system: Kejriwal
Related Reading
The Karti Chidamabaram guide to misusing the IT Act
Will Corrupt Politicians be Jailed in India?
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to a year in jail for tax fraud by MICHAEL DAY MILAN FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ex-servicemen status for retired paramilitary troops

Ex-servicemen status for retd paramilitary troops
Deeptiman Tiwary, TNN | Nov 2, 2012, 01.41AM IST
NEW DELHI: In the run up to Himachal Pradesh assembly and an eye on 2014 parliamentary polls, the government has decided to extend ex-servicemen benefits to retired central paramilitary personnel. The move will please 17 lakh serving and retired personnel from the forces, who were treated like any other government employee.
The Cabinet on Thursday passed a proposal moved by the home ministry to declare retired personnel from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) as "ex-central police personnel" and extend them several benefits that ex-servicemen from the armed forces get.
Like former servicemen, now the retired paramilitary forces personnel will get quota in jobs, higher education for their wards and attendant medical benefits. However, they won't be eligible for certain Central government benefits such as preferential allotment of petrol pumps and gas agency as the Centre has put financial burden of the development entirely on states.
They will also not share the quota of ex-servicemen from defence forces, but have separate reservations as decided by different states.
The move has come at a time when Himachal Pradesh, which sends a large number of its men to various forces, is facing elections. And with general elections only a year and a half away, the policy decision will bring cheer to over seven lakh retired paramilitary personnel across the country apart from nine lakh serving in various forces such as CRPF, BSF, SSB, ITBP and CISF.
The government also hopes the move will help bring attrition in the forces down. Around 44,000 personnel have resigned from paramilitary forces since 2009 due to stressful conditions of work and lack of medical benefits.
Though the proposal for these benefits was made in 2010 itself, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde announced its passing by the Cabinet in quite a dramatic fashion. While attending a CRPF function on Thursday morning, he said, "I am moving a proposal in the Cabinet to grant retired paramilitary personnel the status of ex-servicemen. Paramilitary personnel, like defence forces, put their life at stake in the line of duty and there is no problem in granting them this honour."
Four hours later, at function organized by CISF, the minister said, "I had announced at the CRPF function about granting ex-servicemen status to retired paramilitary men. After that I went to attend the Cabinet meeting and the Cabinet approved the proposal. These personnel will be called as 'ex-central police personnel' on the same footing as ex-servicemen in the defence forces."
The forces, in particular their retired personnel, have a mixed reaction. P S Nair, general secretary of All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, said, "We have been struggling for this for the past several years. We are happy it has come now. It will make us eligible for 60-65 benefits given to ex-servicemen by states. However, this is not enough. We also want one-rank-one-pension like the Army. We are doing a gherao of the CGO Complex on November 21 to press for our demands."
Ex-servicemen status for retd paramilitary troops
Hindu: Ex-servicemen status for retired paramilitary personnel

Tamilnadu in the Flag Day Fund Collection Overdrive?

From: Mrs. Usha Sundar, W/o Lt Col CR Sundar (Retd) dated 01 Nov 2012 from Chennai
To: The Collector, Kanchipuram District.
1. I have attached herewith a copy of an article published in the popular Tamil Weekly ‘Anandha Vikatan’ dated 24/10/2012.
2. There are serious allegations against all RTOs of Tamil Nadu in the said article. As per the article the RTO’s are indulging in a ‘collection spree’ called ‘flag charge’. Instead of the stipulated Rs 36/- they extort Rs. 250/- for a two-wheeler and Rs. 500/- for a four-wheeler. For grant of ‘fitness certificates’ (FC) the rate is Rs. 500/- for medium sized vehicles, Rs. 750/- for buses and lorries and Rs. 1,000/- for heavier vehicles. These rates are for non-defective vehicles. Defective vehicles are charged double.
3. As a member of the public I am very concerned. But as the wife of a retired Army Officer I am pained and angry.
4. Flag Day Fund was set up in 1949 by the Defence Minister’s Committee. In 1993 the Defence Ministry of India consolidated all related welfare funds into Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. Its purposes are Rehabilitation of battle casualties, Welfare of serving personnel and their families and Resettlement and welfare of Ex Servicemen and their families. Fund collection is managed throughout the country by the local arms of Kendriya Sainik Boards (KSB).
5. RTOs of Tamil Nadu are not collection agencies. But they are collecting huge amounts throughout the year and misusing the funds.
6. You as the collector are aware that Ex Servicemen are a deprived lot, and find it very hard to survive in the civilian world.. Every year 7 Dec is commemorated as ‘Flag Day’ and certain formalities are conducted in every DSSA Board in the state .Money is collected in their cause but one never gets to hear anything about the amounts collected, or the ways in which these funds were distributed (if at all) among ESM. We request you to verify the report and take necessary action against the culprits involved.
7. Ex Servicemen are treated with the highest honour and respect elsewhere in the world.. Here in India, especially in Tamil Nadu we are told that State- run offices and officers are looting the general public in the name of those Veterans who gave the best years of their life in the defence of their motherland. It is the ultimate treachery.
8. The ‘Serving Fraternity of officers and the Ministry of Defence’ and the Retired Generals living in Tamil Nadu must work together to stop this sort of Disrespect and Dishonour to the Ex Servicemen and their dependents and widows. Thank You,
Yours faithfully,
Sd/- (Ms.Usha Sundar)
Copy to:
1. The Asst Dir, DSSA Board Tambaram.
2. The AFA, Air Force Station Tambaram.
3. GOC, ATNK&K Area Chennai.
4. The Editor, Anandha Vikatan, Chennai.
Comment: Thalsidar Offices who hand out death certificates are also involved in this racket. There is no control over these State Agencies who are in the money spinning mode and cheating the poor citizens of India into believing these funds are helping Ex Servicemen!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pay and Pain of the Armed Forces Personnel

Volume 29 - Issue 22 :: Nov. 03-16, 2012
Pay and pain
Retired and serving defence staff feel that they have been taken for a ride in the matter of salary revision and that the government has been indifferent to their protests.
Medals surrendered by retired soldiers at a demonstration demanding “One Rank One Pension” and other welfare measures, in New Delhi on March 14, 2010.
CAN you imagine a situation wherein a major general draws a pension lower than that of a lieutenant colonel, a position that is three ranks lower in the hierarchy? Can you imagine the embarrassment of a havildar who draws a pension less than that of a sipahi, which is a much junior rank? Can you imagine the humiliation of a lieutenant general who draws almost the same pension as a colonel or a brigadier, ranks that are lower, because he has been clubbed in the same pay band? These are not hypothetical situations but real incongruities that have been created with the implementation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations for armed forces personnel. On July 13, the Prime Minister constituted a committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, to look into these and other anomalies in the pay structure of defence personnel vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts after the implementation of the recommendations. Significantly, the committee was made up of bureaucrats, and the government turned down the request from the three services chiefs that they be included in the committee because military concepts and nuances of rank and grade might not be understood by civilian bureaucrats.
The committee submitted its report to the government on August 8. On the basis of its recommendations, the government, on September 24, announced a Rs.2,300-crore package that would, an official release said, help bridge the gap in the pensions of those who retired before and after 2006, the cut-off year for the Sixth CPC recommendations. Besides, the government also announced an enhancement of the family pension and approved dual family pension and the continuation of family pension to mentally and physically challenged wards of defence personnel even after their marriage. But even as the government was patting itself on the back for having met the long-pending demands of defence personnel, including of “one rank one pension” (OROP), serving personnel and ex-servicemen were left seething with rage at what they saw as a betrayal. “This is peanuts. We are aghast. It meets zero aspirations of the armed forces personnel. We were apprehensive of something like this [happening] as the government had refused to include the three services chiefs in the committee. We have been taken for a ride by the government,” said Maj. Gen. (Retd) Satbir Singh, vice-chairman of the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM).
“This country does not respect the sacrifices made by a soldier who lays down his life for the country. There is no respect for those in uniform who would not think twice before making the supreme sacrifice. This is a very unfortunate state of affairs. The government is bluffing the country and the unsuspecting soldier,” he told Frontline. According to him, the concept of “pay band”, where four or five ranks are clubbed together, is “anarchic” and should have been replaced with a rank pay concept at every level. Besides, defence personnel should be given non-functional upgradation (NFU) like their civilian counterparts (in the Indian Administrative Service), wherein if some people from a batch get promoted to the next rank, those left behind get their salary upgraded despite not being promoted.
“In the armed forces, promotions are basically about rejections as there are limited vacancies. Out of 300 colonels, only 12 become brigadiers, out of these 12, only four become major generals and only one finally makes it to the lieutenant general rank. Those left behind may be equally competent, hence should be compensated with a pay upgrade to keep them on a par with their course mates,” said Brigadiar (Retd) V.A.M. Hussain. But none of these demands was even considered by the committee though the service chiefs had put them on the agenda.
Back to the streets
To protest against the government’s “betrayal”, members of the IESM, who have taken to the streets in the past on these issues, are protesting again. On December 1, they will hold a dharna and once again return their medals. “Over 10,000 medals have been returned by the veterans in protest. The government has refused to take them back. They are still lying in our office. We will once again return these medals to the government,” Maj. Gen. (Retd) Satbir Singh said. He said that all that the government had actually done was to just nominally increase the pension of various ranks by amounts ranging from Rs.400 to Rs.1,500 a month. “The government is misleading the country by exaggerating the benefits,” he said. The IESM has written letters of protest to the Prime Minister demanding justice, with copies to the Defence Minister and the services chiefs.
The sharp reaction from the soldiers has not spurred the government into any sort of action. In fact, the blame for the mess is being shifted between the Defence Ministry and the Cabinet Secretariat. “We have nothing to do with this issue. The announcement was made by the Cabinet Secretariat, and as far as we are concerned, there is no deliberation happening at any level as of now,” a senior Defence Ministry official said. The Army’s public relations officer (PRO) confirmed that the Ministry was not in the loop on this issue as yet. “No, I have no brief on this. We are aware the announcement has caused certain serious concerns and certain issues have emerged but we are not aware whether any deliberations are taking place at any level at all,” said the Army PRO.
Apathy and indifference
Serious anomalies in the pay structure of defence personnel and problems in the implementation of pay commission recommendations have been a point of concern for armed forces personnel since the Fourth CPC was announced. Until 1973, the armed forces had a separate pay commission, and the concept of military pay was prevalent, which gave them a certain advantage over their civilian counterparts. At the time of the Fourth CPC, the armed forces pay commission was merged with the pay commission for Central government employees.
Defence personnel allege the bureaucracy manipulated the implementation of the recommendations in such a way that the status of armed forces personnel was actually degraded. In order to retain the advantage in the salary of armed forces personnel, the CPC had recommended the concept of rank pay, which is an emolument over and above basic pay and perks and which varies from Rs.200 to 1,200, depending on rank. But during implementation, instead of being increased by an amount equivalent to the rank pay, the basic salary of armed forces personnel was reduced by that amount. So even when the rank pay was added to the salary, the net result was that there was no increase in their salaries.
AFTER GIVING UP THEIR MEDALS at the demonstration, ex-servicemen used their own blood to sign a memorandum to the President listing their demands.
Nobody seemed to have noticed the problem until Major (Retd) A.K. Dhanapalan filed and won a case in the Kerala High Court in 1996-97. As the news spread, many officers filed similar petitions across the country. On the government’s request, all the cases were shifted to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of the defence personnel on March 8, 2010, and ordered the government to pay arrears with 6 per cent interest to over 20,000 retired and serving defence personnel. The government, however, sought a modification/recall of the order. In 2010-11, the case came up for hearing 10 times, but the Solicitor General failed to appear each time.
On June 7, 2012, Lt Gen. (Retd) Raj Kadyan, former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and chairman of the IESM, met Law Minister Salman Khursheed and requested his intervention. The case was finally decided by the Supreme Court on September 4. The government pleaded inability to bear the “extra expenditure” but was reminded by the court that it was not extra expenditure but the just due of the defence personnel that had fraudulently been denied them. Then, the government requested that only litigant officers be given the arrears, which again the Supreme Court rejected, saying all affected officers should be granted the arrears. The court, however, waived the interest up to 2006. Over 20,000 officers who had inadvertently been deprived of their due benefited. “What is disturbing is that even our own organisations have failed to protect our interests,” said Major (Retd) Dhanapalan. The three services chiefs should have ensured that their personnel got their due, but that did not happen.
But what pains the defence personnel the most is that the problem the political leadership kept silent when the problems were brought to light.
“Civilian control over the armed forces is indisputable, but should the political establishment abdicate its responsibility and give the executive unbridled power?” demanded Lt Gen. (Retd) Kadyan. Lt Gen. (Retd) Kadyan and Maj. Gen. (Retd) Satbir Singh said that the strict discipline within the forces was keeping things from going out of control, but this pent-up frustration could prove risky.
The government should stop fiddling with the emotions of soldiers, said many serving armed forces personnel. The government, they warn, would do well not to mess with things like the salary, pensions and hierarchy of soldiers because for them these things are not mere fiscal matters but form an integral part of their sense of dignity. Is anybody in the government listening?
Pay and Pain of the Armed Forces Personnel

India produces the finest Generals it possibly can

My Response to Ajay Shukla's "Wake Up Generals"... Click here
Dear Ajay,
(Ajay left the Army a few years ago as Lt Col/Col. He was in the Armd Corps I think)
I feel very very sad and disenchanted to read your article written for the Business Standard. You left the Army and became a journalist. Great. You have significant inside knowledge of the Army and the other two services. One thought you would use it to educate the Indian polity about National security matters, and not write trash as you have done in this article.
Let us try and imagine what will be the end effect of this article. Will it create better impression of our army in the minds of the general public, the politicians, the bureaucracy, the youngsters aspiring to join the Army. What about the negative effect on serving officers and men!!
Writing about how many people work in the Army House should be below the dignity of Ajay. How can a NDA/ IMA trained gentleman officer stoop so low!!
Also do you think this article would be considered a journalistic achievement of yours and raise your stock amongst the new fraternity you have chosen as a result of your second career!!
Ajay dear, I am from the 1st Course JSW/ NDA. Joined in Jan 1949. Have seen the Army since then. I have also seen the US Army/ Marine Corps some what. Worked with TATAs also. I see the Indian Army now. There are changes even since I retired in 1991 but let me inform you that these are more visible in peace areas. These are as a result of societal changes. The Army cannot be divorced from the rest of the nation. But in the field/ operational areas officers and soldiers are doing commendable job. You are fully aware that it is extremely difficult to rise in the Indian Army and one has to be really lucky in addition to having professional capabilities to pick up a flag rank.
I wrote this to the Shekhar Gupta after the most derogatory article published on the front page of the Indian Express a few weeks back.
I would be happy if with your experience in the Army you can come out with some positive suggestions on how to improve the quality of our generals. Deep selection is no answer, as we Indians are experts in beating any system. Also every policy has its pros and cons!!
Whatever we do, we should not hand over the process to the politicians and the bureaucrats.
Ajay please please do not throw muck on the Army of which you are a product. Please do ponder over the ill effects.
Best wishes.
Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retired)

NDA, IMA and OTA train military leaders
A General leads his men by his example. He expects his men to do their duty to the fullest extent of the word. He will send no man to do what he himself would not do of his own accord. He will enforce discipline, and will establish that he is in charge. He must never hold himself higher than a deity, or have his men treat him as such. He must approach warfare from many angles, being flexible direct or aggressive as the situation warrants. He must also not be afraid of losing everything. The General who does not commit himself fully to victory will lose without honour.

India tweaks tender to procure 12 VVIP Helicopters

‘India changed tech requirements to help Italian firm’
Manu Pubby : New Delhi, Thu Nov 01 2012, 02:22 hrs
India allegedly tweaked the technical requirements in the tender to procure 12 VVIP helicopters for the Air Force to help Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland enter the race, an associate of the suspected middleman in the deal has alleged in his confession to Italian prosecutors.
In his testimony, the associate of Guido Haschke said the AW 101 chopper did not qualify initially as the requirements were being drawn by India in 2006. They were allegedly tweaked after Haschke struck a deal with the Italian company.
Investigations have also found that the Indian businessman named by Italian prosecutors — Sanjeev Kumar (Julie) Tyagi — is closely related to former air chief marshal S P Tyagi, who was heading the force when the tender was floated in December 2006.
S P Tyagi is a first cousin of Julie, a Delhi-based businessman. He is one of three Indians being probed for suspected corruption in the Rs 3,546 crore deal.
The retired officer confirmed he was related to Julie but said they had no business links. Julie could not be reached for comment. Reached for its comment, the IAF did not respond until going to press.
In his May 14 confession, business consultant Carmelo Messina says he put Haschke and his partner Carlos Gerosa in touch with AgustaWestland in 2006 to facilitate the Indian contract. He says Haschke was keen to get in touch with AgustaWestland as he “claimed he had deep knowledge of the Indian market”.
“Haschke said he had good relations with a person from Indian defence. I think he met him during his studies in America,” the statement says. Messina said Haschke boasted about his connections and claimed to have insider information that could help the Italian firm.
Messina says AgustaWestland figured out its choppers would not qualify for the contract after it contacted Haschke. He says Haschke managed to get the requirements changed to accommodate AgustaWestland.
“He told me he managed to convince the Indians, or actually the defence ministry, to reconsider the features of the helicopters so that Italian helicopters too could take part in the tender,” Messina says. “After some evaluation, it was found Haschke was right and the... ministry had really modified the technical features of the helicopters it needed.”
Messina says he received “50,000-60,000 euros in cash” from Haschke as a “thank you sign” in 2009.
India changed tech requirements to help Italian firm
Who is Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi?
Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi (born 14 March 1945), more commonly known as S P Tyagi, is the former Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. Prior to becoming chief of Indian Air Force, he was commanding the Western Air Command of the Air Force. He was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF on December 31, 1963. He is said to have "actively participated" in the 1965 and 1971 wars.
Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi took over as the 20th Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force from 31 December 2004. Popularly known as "Bundle", Tyagi was born at Indore on March 14, 1945 . He is an alumnus of St Xavier School in Jaipur. He was commissioned in the IAF on 31 December 1963 in the fighter stream.
The initial years of his career in the air force, Tyagi flew Gnats with No.23 Squadron and later served with Hunters of No.27 Squadron. A veteran of both the 1965 and the 1971 Wars, he was one of the pioneer batch of eight pilots selected for conversion on the Jaguar Interdiction aircraft when it was inducted in 1980s. Whilst training at Lossiemouth, he was one of the two Indian pilots chosen for a Photo Recce Course at Coltishall with No.41 Squadron RAF.
Tyagi commanded No.14 Squadron "Bulls" later after coming back to India. A Graduate of the TACDE with a Fighter Combat Leader and Pilot Attack Instructor qualifications, he had also attended the Junior Commanders Course, the National Defence College and finally the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington. He received the Vayu Sena Medal (VM) for distinguished service in 1985.
In his mid career, Tyagi had several other appointments under his belt. He was an instructor at TACDE. As an Air Commodore, Tyagi commanded 33 Wing at Jamnagar. Later he was also posted as the Defence Attache at the Indian Consulate in Saudi Arabia. Air Commodore Tyagi was awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) in 1994.
He also held the appointments of Director Operations (Air Defence), ACAS (Intelligence), ACAS (Ops). He has had a stint as a senior fellow at the IDSA and was also a senior Instructor and Directing Staff at the DSSC Wellington.
In the rank of Air Marshal, Tyagi was appointed as the SASO of Central Air Command for some time. He took over as the AOC-in-C of Central Air Command not soon after. he is one of the few officers to have the distinction of commanding three Air Commands, Central, South Western and Western Air Command.
Air Marshal Tyagi was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) in 2003, and was appointed as one of the honorary ADCs of the President of India. He has the distinction of being the one and only Air Chief Marshal to have done skydiving after being appointed to a high post as Chief of the Air Staff of Indian Air Force.
He is married to Mrs. Vandana Tyagi and they have a son and a daughter.

Conspiracy of Silence breeds Corruption

Conspiracy of silence by all political leaders on corruption: Former CJI JS Verma
POLITICS NEWS, Updated Oct 28, 2012 at 08:27am IST
Karan Thapar, CNN-IBN
New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India, JS Verma has hit out at the political class saying that politicians are colluding with each other against the fight to end corruption. While speaking to Karan Thapar on this week's Devil's Advocate, he accused the politicians of conspiring to tolerate corruption at the highest level. Below is an excerpt of the interview:
Karan Thapar: Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said to this programme just a week ago that he was aware of things done by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster son-in-law, Mr LK Advani's children which would not only embarrass their parents but were, he said, equivalent to corruption and wrongdoing. Yet he also insisted he would never reveal what he knew. What you make of that position?
ustice JS Verma: Well, that is a very disturbing statement. It reveals if true a conspiracy at the top against the combating of corruption which people are talking all the time and it shows that political morality is at its lowest ebb. Karan Thapar: But what about Mr Digvijaya's point that it is not ethical to target the children of families of politicians if they themsleves are not in politics. Justice JS Verma: Anyone in a position to influence decision making should be above suspicion.
Karan Thapar: These same ethics determined the silence of the BJP in March 2011 when the economic times first revealed Rober Vadra's DLF connections and the manner in which, the dramatic manner in which his companies fortunes had ballooned. At that time the BJP decided that it would not be ethical and proper to speak about Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law. Now in that instance was that wise discretion on the BJP's part or wrongful silence.
Justice JS Verma: It was failure of duty because, you see, personalities don't matter. According to me, the higher you are in hierarchy the more strict standard of behaviour you have to answer to.
Karan Thapar: So would you also go one step further and say - given on one hand Mr Digvijaya Singh's ethics and behaviour and given on the other the BJP's initial silence over Vadra - that the impression that is created is that politicians behave like a brotherhood which colludes to protect each other and sometimes colludes to cover up for each other.
Justice JS Verma: It would indicate or reveal a conspiracy of silence to tolerate corruption at the highest level.
Conspiracy of silence by all political leaders on corruption: Former CJI JS Verma

High Court raps Army: Officer Courts a Sri Lankan

Karnataka HC to Indian Army: Stop coming in the way of lovers like khaps do
by FP Staff Oct 31, 2012
This story could well be fodder for a sizzling silver screen romance, only the Karnataka High Court nipped the Indian Army’s opposition of two young lovers in the bud.
A Bangalore-based major who fell in love with a Sri Lankan student studying in the same city ran into trouble after the defence establishment got suspicious of his and his lover’s motives. In fact, according to a Times of India report the Army ordered an ‘investigation’ into Major Vikas Kumar’s ”purpose behind coming in contact with a foreign national”.
When Kumar, in order to get married to the 29-year-old Sri Lankan student, tried quitting from the service as the Army rules don’t allow serving officers to marry foreign nationals, his superiors refused to relieve him of his duties citing ‘staff crunch’. That is when he moved court.
A bench headed by chief justice Vikramjit Sen at the Karnataka High Court then rapped the Army saying that their bid to stop the lovers from being together is khap panchayat-like.
The TOI report says: Displeased with the arguments of the government counsel, Justice Sen observed: “This is not a khap panchayat, this is the Army.” He also said, “We can’t understand the Army’s stand at all. This is most unfortunate for the man. One of India’s Presidents, also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was married to a foreigner.” (A reference to K R Narayanan who was married to Ma Tint Tint of Myanmarese origin). Karnataka HC to Indian Army: Stop coming in the way of lovers like khaps do

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Propriety & Impropriety: A nation on the decline

- The Last Word - CNN IBN - 30 Oct 2012
An interesting debate last evening on CNN IBN, a distinguished panel to include an ex-Army Chief, an ex-Naval Chief and also an ex-Cabinet Secretary....of course, with the most popular anchor, Karan Thapar, hosting the show
The topic was " Ex-Army Chief Gen VK Singh demanding that Parliament be dissolved". Earlier it was reported in the newspapers that Anna Hazare and the ex-Army Chief had asked for Lok Sabha to be dissolved since the UPA government had crossed all limits of corruption. VK Singh had also said, "A new set of parliamentarians is needed. Let elections be held so that people can decide if they are satisfied".
While no one was asked on the credibility of the content and the intent of the statement, the issue basically revolved around the 'Propriety' of this demand by an ex-Army Chief, a man in uniform and on the Chief's chair till about a few months back. How could he question the very government he was serving and also enjoys the perk of retaining a government accommodation for a period of six months post-retirement. I shall not delve on the issue of this perk as the government has done no favour as he is entitled to such a perk like his predeccessors/successors and the government is only a custodian of such property and by no chance can claim ownership of such public property.
My comments shall be restricted to 'Propriety'....some definitions are 'The quality of being proper; appropriateness, Conformity to prevailing customs and usages, The usages and customs of polite society'. It is evident, therefore, that no one is questioning the legality or the technicality of such a statement...and the fingers are being pointed at an ex-Army man, a soldier in uniform!!
We need a level playing field...the Army cannot be judged on a template different from others....we are a part of the same society. Let us start from the top in the government, restricting my observations to 'propriety' only.
1. Why should the President of India not be questioned for impropriety for offering his consultancy services to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on the cabinet reshuffle? Also, was it proper for him to stand for President when his role as Finance Minister is under cloud for going slow on economic offences relating to hawala/money laundering/Swiss-foreign bank accounts
2. Does not propriety demand that the Vice President had no business to arbitrarily close the debate on Lokpal Bill at 12.00 midnight at the behest of Pawan Bansal, when the rules and advisory note by his Secretary General clarified that the session could continue
3. Propriety demands that the Prime Minister should have resigned long time ago, initially on the CVC judgement, which the PM took as 'error of judgement', his involvement in 2G scam, particularly so after the statement of ex-Cabinet Secretary Chandrashekhar, as Coal Minister in the Coalgate scam and other omissions/ discretions... the biggest damage the PM has done is that he has nullified the basic foundation of governance by his misinterpretation of 'responsibility and accountability' giving a leverage to every minister/ bureaucrat in politico-executive and executive to shun these and play safe with no compulsion to govern
4. In case propriety has to be made applicable to the Judiciary, should not ex-CJI Balakrishnan resign as Chairman Human Rights Commission for disproportionate assets accumulated by his kith & kin and offer himself for a thorough investigation
5. Propriety demands that all Governors to include Narayanan and Gen JJ Singh, appointed immediately after retiring from government appointments be asked to quit...all bureaucrats on post-retirement appointments be sent home and hereafter the government must function on its authorised establishment with total moratorium committees/commissions/advisors/consultants
6. Propriety demands that Sonia Gandhi should clarify on her state of health and source of funds/expense on her medical treatment and other visits abroad 7. Propriety also demands that all privileges of Robert Vadra and Priyanka Gandhi be withdrawn immediately as they are private persons and have no business to be allotted government accommodation, SPG cover and exempted from security checks/toll taxes ...all cases against Robert Vadra be investigated by SIT on fast track basis
8. Nitin Gadkari should resign as President BJP as Propriety does not allow him to continue in this post
9. Propriety demands that Laloo Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Sharad Pawar resign from the party posts and offer themselves for investigation into several disproprtionate assets cases
10. After witnessing the conduct of the Parliamentarians during the last session, does not propriety demand that the Lok sabha should have been dissolved immediately and their privileges withdrawn....all perks need to be reviewed
11. Propriety demands that the concept of VVIP/VIPs be done away with, NSG and other security cover withdrawn and those in governance start living normal lives in conformity with the dictates of a polite and cultured society
Let us not attack the messengers of change...concentrate on the issue being raised...there is no governance...the justice system has failed....the 'unelected' and the 'unelectable' are only crying that order be restored in society and the future of the nation be safeguarded... it does not matter whether the voice is raised by Anna Hazare or Arvind Kejriwal or ex-CJI JS Verma or ex-Army Chief Gen VK Singh....what matters is the "ISSUE", the issue of good governance and effective measures to arrest aam aadmi needs such people to project their grievances and sentiments...the media does not listen to ordinary people as that does not earn them TRPs
No nation can survive by neglecting its Army....the government has not only shown scant respect for the Defence Services, it has gone out of its way to deny its entitlements and humiliated its own Army on several occasions...In the 'Rank Pay' case, it repeatedly lodged review petitions in the Supreme Court to deny the rights....What can one say of a government which cheats its own Army
Propriety demands dis-solution of the Lok Sabha, fresh elections and responsible voting by the aam aadmi, the actual custodian of this great country called India
with best regards

Wake up, generals! Stop this 5 star culture

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 30th Oct 12
The Indian Army fish is rotting from the head. Memories are still fresh of the bruising confrontation earlier this year between the politically ambitious General VK Singh and an inept government that had precipitated a civil-military firestorm over the army chief’s quest for an extra year in office. Now, as Broadsword reports (Click here) another aggrieved general is going to court in his quest for the top job.
The current chief, General Bikram Singh, who took over from the divisive General VK Singh in June, has singularly failed to apply a healing touch and to undo the partisanship his predecessor unleashed. Most new bosses, even sports coaches, are expected to provide a new direction. In five months on the job, General Bikram Singh’s new direction consists only of orders that officers must greet each other with the salutation of “Jai Hind”, instead of merely giving each other the time of day. The new chief also wants meetings to end with everyone chorusing “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
Intelligence reports have not yet confirmed that the Pakistani and Chinese militaries are quaking in their boots.
Let us be charitable; perhaps General Bikram Singh needs more time. His arrival in Delhi was traumatic and uncertain, since his predecessor assiduously sabotaged his elevation in the internecine fighting that now seems to be a part of the game. Once in Delhi, the new chief’s priority was to set himself up in the five-star style that now defines our culture of generalship. In his first days in the hallowed office of legends like General KC Thimayya and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the new chief and his staff busied themselves with putting together a retinue of a dozen waiters, cooks, dhobis and assorted tradesmen to sustain life in Army House.
Called upon for retainers, a bevy of army formations milked out these retainers from combat units, where tough young officers and the legendary Indian jawan have learned how to make do with the dwindling resources that their own generals leave them. At least two senior flag rank officers personally screened the men who would serve their chief, knowing that a spilt drink or over-salted soup could reverberate unpleasantly in their own careers.
The chief will naturally deny this since none of these tradesmen are officially posted to Army House, his tony residence on New Delhi’s leafy Rajaji Marg. Conveniently, this entourage is on “temporary duty” with army units in the capital. But any visitor to Army House would find them working there, just as visits to many army posts and picquets would find combat soldiers cooking and washing instead of training and patrolling, simply because their cook or dhobi is languishing in Delhi.
This travesty faces no resistance from subordinate generals, many of whom are hardly angels themselves. Lieutenant General Nobel Thamburaj, who headed the Southern Army, was arrested by the CBI for gross irregularities concerning defence land. Two army chiefs, Generals Deepak Kapoor and NC Vij, along with several army commanders, received illegal flats in Mumbai’s infamous Adarsh Housing Society. Lieutenant General Shankar Ghosh, the Western Army commander until June, had his medical category downgraded last year, entitling him to disability pension. But when General VK Singh’s confrontation with the government made dismissal a possibility, Ghosh (then the senior-most army commander) upgraded his medical category to be eligible for a move to Army House.
If the generals believe that these shenanigans go unnoticed by junior officers or the rank and file, they are mistaken. The recent face-offs between officers and enlisted men in military bases near Samba, Amritsar and Leh suggest a decline in the ironclad faith that the army jawan has always had in his leaders. Today’s culture of entitlement at the top, where funds, resources and manpower are poured into supporting the five-star lifestyles of a few dozen senior generals, threatens to seep downwards poisoning the entire system. It is difficult to remain idealistic, motivated and dead straight --- the defining characteristics of young Indian officers --- when so much wrongdoing is evident at the top. Even honest officers are inevitably corrupted by a system in which outright financial dishonesty is condoned as “perks and privileges of office”.
As worrying as the corruption is the lack of intellectual direction that generals provide the army’s young leaders. This was evident from the recent flood of chain emails between mid-level and junior officers, expressing outrage that the army was being blamed in the media for the 1962 debacle. In the intellectual desert that the generals have made the army, every red-blooded officer has bought into the “Haqeeqat myth”, in which gallant soldiers, badly deployed by incompetent politicians and bureaucrats, mowed down hordes of Chinese before laying down their lives. While this is true in several cases, there are many more cases of entire Indian sub-units fleeing from strong defensive positions into waiting Chinese ambushes. Any professional military studies its defeats even more deeply than its victories. But professional study is not on the army’s agenda. The generals believe that officers and men must be busy with creating the illusion of command success, howsoever transient. With no time to read or guidance and inspiration from the top, human development is merely a buzzword.
Preening incongruously amidst this crumbling edifice, General Bikram Singh has taken his media managers’ ill-considered advice that controversies are best dealt with by avoiding the press. General VK Singh’s mistake lay in seeking out the media say the same advisors who had advised the previous chief. But with controversy increasingly swirling, the army’s leadership can no longer deal with its growing image problem by sticking its head in the sand.
Generals Wake Up!

Lt Gen Dastan and Lt Gen Suhag are in the battle for succession

Lt Gen Allegedly Denied Appointment to Move Court
NEW DELHI | OCT 30, 2012
The dust has hardly settled after former Army Chief Gen V K Singh's court battle with the Government when another General is planning to move court to seek elevation as an Army Commander from June 1 which, if accepted, can create a possible succession row in the force.
Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lt Gen Ravi Dastane is planning to file a petition in the Armed Forces Tribunal in this regard in the next few days, his counsel Major S S Pandey said here today.
He said Lt Gen Dastane, who has already filed a statutory complaint with the Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh in this regard, is planning to make two main pleas before the Tribunal where he will seek elevation to the rank of Army Commander from June 1 this year retrospectively when two vacancies were existing.
The posts of Western and Eastern Army Commander had fallen vacant on May 31 after the retirement of Gen V K Singh, who was succeeded by Lt Gen Bikram Singh, and the Western Army Commander Lt Gen Shankar Ranjan Ghosh. Lt Gen Bikram Singh had headed the Eastern Command.
The Government had kept the post of Eastern Army Commander vacant for two to three days before Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag was appointed whereas Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachhra was appointed as the Western Army Commander on June 1.
The post was not filled as just before retirement, Gen V K Singh had put Lt Gen Suhag under a discipline and vigilance ban for a failed intelligence operation in Assam but the ban was lifted within 72 hours of Gen Bikram Singh's assuming office.
"On that day, Lt Gen Dastane was also eligible to be elevated as an Army Commander and we will plead before the AFT to give us that appointment," Pandey said.
If the plea is accepted, then Lt Gen Dastane may become senior to Lt Gen Suhag who is expected to succeed Gen Bikram Singh in July 2014 after his retirement.
The second main plea of Lt Gen Dastane would be to be appointed as an Army commander on January 31 when the post of Southern Army Command head falls vacant after Lt Gen A K Singh superannuates with seniority to be taken into account from June 1, Dastane's counsel said.
Though the Government considers all Army Commander-rank officers for elevation to the post of Army Chief but barring a few cases, it has gone ahead with the seniormost officer for the top job.
Commenting on the statutory complaint filed by the officer, Defence Ministry officials said it was pending and no decision has yet been taken.
On the vacancy of Eastern Army Commander being kept vacant for two-three days for Lt Gen Suhag, they said the Government had to take a holistic view of the situation as the officer was being targeted in a "motivated manner" by his then superiors.
Lt Gen Dastane has commanded the 14 Corps in Ladakh and was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) when troops in an artillery regiment beat up their officers in Nyoma during an exercise.
The Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the incident and its outcome is still awaited.
Lt Gen Allegedly Denied Appointment to Move Court
Comment: The Military appointments are manipulated by MOD and Arms Lobbyists. There is handing and taking over to safeguard accrual of hidden assets that the appointment carries (example sample the Tatra scam revelation- a cut of Rs 14 crores for the chief).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Italian middlemen prove Indian CBI Officials are morons

Indian officials are ‘morons’, will take years to track links, middlemen said
Manu Pubby : New Delhi, Tue Oct 30 2012, 01:52 hrs
The alleged middlemen in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal bragged that even if Indian investigators probed their role, they would find no money trail as the payments were made in cash, and that they would not be able to identify Sanjeev Kumar Tyagi as the person behind the affair, taped conversations that are part of an Italian judicial report reveal.
In a conversation between business partners Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa, the name of Tyagi — a Delhi-based businessman who is also known as Julie — comes up as the duo talk about payments being made in cash for the 2010 deal to procure 12 VVIP helicopters, and brag that Indian prosecutors would never be able to prove the corruption.
A part of the 568-page report records Gerosa as saying that “the only one who is safe from judicial consequence is Julie as they (Indian investigators) are morons and that there is no link”.
Tyagi, who claims to be a former Air Force officer but was not actually commissioned into the Force, is a Delhi-based consultant with an office in the city’s upmarket Ferozeshah Road area. He is believed to be active in the government sector, particularly power.
The following conversation that was recorded on March 1 between Haschke and Gerosa:
Haschke: The important (thing) is that my name does not leak.
Gerosa: Eh mine too. You are the first ring.
H: Understood.
G: If the first rings breaks I also come into the picture.
H: Let’s try to avoid that the first rings breaks, first of all!
G: We all agree.
H: And in the meantime we go on with the job.
G: The only one who has no risks is Julie, because we are those in the front.
G: There is really no link there because, I mean... cash.
H: Exactly, so they (the judges) will never be able to prove that corruption was there. They can say that engineering was expensive, though it is not even that expensive, but they can never say corruption was there. This is the essence.
Italian investigators conclude from the long-winding conversation that Gerosa was afraid that Indian investigators could get some clues that corruption took place for the Rs 3,546-crore deal.
“Haschke says they can claim that the engineering was expensive and nobody can ever say corruption took place. Gerosa disagrees and says there are some clues, Haschke says with clues you can be remanded but you cannot be sentenced. Gerosa says it just needs the judge to be convinced that corruption took place, it is not important if you have the proof of how much was paid and to whom,” the report says.
The two Italian consultants, who were extensively trailed, tracked and bugged by investigators, also brag about the fact that the commission paid has been routed through Mauritius and that it would take Indian sleuths years to track it down as they did not know about the Mauritius link. The duo express fear that their lawyer, Gautam Khaitan, may also get arrested if money laundering was probed.
Here is another conversation that also took place on March 1:
Gerosa: It’s clear that if money is no longer there, it must have gone somewhere, don’t we want to say where? In this thing even Gautam will go inside (behind bars) because (incomprehensible) Mauritius. You know when the letter of request will reach Mauritius? (incomprehensible) If they wanted... (incomprehensible)... with the letter to Mauritius (incomprehensible)....
Haschke: Before they send the letter to Mauritius, they have to understand it went there (the money). And to understand it went to Mauritius they first have to send a letter of request to Italy, then to Tunisia and then, maybe, in 10 years....
Italian investigators have also stumbled upon several Indians involved in the deal but have somehow not named them in the preliminary report. In one instance, the investigators summarised they learnt from shadowing Haschke and Gerosa as well as the conversations that were tapped THAT ....
“Following press articles regarding the corruption over the 12-helicopter deal (in The Indian Express), they talk, revealing some minute particulars regarding the sale and some people including Orsi, Spagnolini, Haschke, Gerosa and other Indian individuals involved in the case,” the police report says.
The Italian investigators have also concluded that the middlemen were receiving the “due payments” through moneylaundering operations in Tunisia and Mauritius.
“It is understood that they are receiving ‘the due’, that is the 20 million euros (rest went to Christian Michel) through fictitious operations in Tunisia. Afterwards, the money goes to Mauritius. It is also revealed that Orsi, Spagnolini and other top managers have full responsibility and complicity in the operation,” the report says, adding that the duo talk about other Italian and Indian individuals involved in the dealing.
Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland has denied that it used agents or intermediaries for the India contract even as it admitted that it was aware of the preliminary investigation in the case.
Indian officials are ‘morons’, will take years to track links, middlemen said
India Operations
Haschke and Carlo jointly run Aeromatrix, the Chandigarh-based services company specializing in aerospace and a host of other sectors. The former, known for his connections in Indian military sector has been on the board of Emaar MGF in the past. With a series of corruption charges levelled against Finmeccanica, Italian prosecutors tapped the phone of Guido Haschke, the alleged middleman, while probing into the deal. They have informed the judiciary about the outstanding evidence procured by them. A part of the commission that was paid was routed through Mauritius and Tunisia, along with details of the tapped conversation.
A day after The Indian Express reported an Italian investigation report into corruption allegations in the VVIP helicopter deal, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, who has been named as one of the persons being investigated, has said that he has no role in any defence deal and his contact with alleged middleman Guido Haschke was limited to being a legal counsel.
“I strongly deny all such allegations and insinuation of my having any direct/indirect involvement in any defence deals along with the alleged deal of VVIP helicopters. There is no question of any wrongdoing. I and my firm are acting as the lawyers for Aeromatrix for the limited purpose of helping the company with its statutory compliances in India and some other petty day-to-day matters,” Khaitan said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has said that it has no records that Sanjeev Kumar Tyagi, who has been identified as a former air force officer in the Italian police report, has ever served with it.
The Italian report, however, does name Tyagi as one of the three Indians whose names figure in the chargesheet and has records of his conversations and meetings with Haschke. The report names him as a former IAF pilot who is now a Delhi-based businessman.
Sources, however, indicate that Tyagi did join the air force academy and train to be a pilot but may not have been actually commissioned into the air force. He is believed to be very close to several senior air force officers. Click here for the original post

Veterans lead in the anti- corruption crusade

Anna Hazare, VK Singh want Parliament dissolved
Published: Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012, 4:06 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The country is set to witness another round of yatras by social activist Anna Hazare and his team from January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Until then, Anna will scout for people willing to join his team to trudge across the nation to help people select “right political candidates” for the 2014 general elections.
Anna and former army chief General VK Singh, who were in the city on Monday, addressed the media. “We will tell people to select political candidates on the basis of character, capacity and desire to serve people,” said Anna.
The two criticised the government and sought its dismissal “for not working for the people”. They charged the government of not protecting the people, not working for their welfare and being influenced by market-driven policies.
“We want the government to be dissolved as it is only slapping its neo-liberal policies on the people. While the preamble of the Constitution says that it is ‘by the people’, the people are not heard,” said Singh.
“The gap between the rich and poor is increasing as politicians are serving themselves and not the country,” said Hazare who advocated “pursuing of black money instead of taking loans from banks to better the economy”.
Anna also slammed the central investigation agency, the CBI, and reiterated the need for stronger laws while demanding judicial inquiry in recent allegations against BJP national president Nitin Gadkari. “People earn money for seven generations and go to jail for a few months. We need stronger laws to deter people,” he said.
As for his former associate, Arvind Kejriwal, Anna said that they had same goal but the means were different.
Speaking of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Anna said if Modi was against corruption, he should have introduced the Lok Ayukta in his state.
Anna Hazare, VK Singh want Parliament dissolved
Comment: Many retired Generals become arm chair Military advisers or remain silent spectators when the nation is truly becoming a banana republic. Will Generals lead the citizens and farmers to true democracy or enjoy the cosy comfort of their homes by spinning more money?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Handbook for Military Pensioners

Dear Sir,
I will request you to get it published in Report My Signals blog. It maybe useful to veterans other than Signals.
With Regards
ID Sharma
Dear ID,
My congratulations for producing the Hand Book. Pse keep doing such things to help the veterans. We have to help ourselves and we have many like you who are doing yeoman's service.
Best wishes.
Sincerely, Harbhajan Singh
Handbook for Pensioners
Handbook for Pensioers

Rank Pay: CDA (O) twists in a New Format

Sunday, 28 October 2012 6:01 PM
PCDA (O) has changed the FORM today
Dear Friends,
Brig PT Gangadharan has been keeping a close watch on our Rank Pay case and the various requirements we are required to send down to CDA(O). This is latest from him. Do collect the necessary data from your service records ( I searched for it today and found that it contains a lot of info) Do pull yours out and see what you can lay your hands on.
Niranjan Malik
From: ptgangadharan Date: 28 October 2012 16:04
Subject: PCDA (O) has changed the FORM today
Dear Sir,
PCDA (O) has again changed the FORM again today; fresh details wanted; if you go to the CDA website you will find.
I am enclosing the same New Format: Click here.
Till now this information is required by CDA(O) changes affected every day and once MOD letter comes something more will happen or required.
MOD Letter is still awaited.
Please collate your DATA and keep it ready. Maximum details are in Your Record of Service recd from AGs Branch after your retirement.
PS:- Most of you may not have all the required information. Hence try and give max available information. Archives will have all information. IN & IAF offrs may take similar action with their pay offices.
New CDA (0) Format
New Format: Click here- Supreme Court Verdict regarding Rank Pay and related matters 09/10/2012)
Address New Completed Form to:
Senior AO. Pay Revision Cell (superscribed "Information: Hon'ble Supreme Court Judgement dated 04/09/2012")
Golibar Maidan, Pune 411 001

Tatra Trucks: CBI has evidence of links with a shadowy set of former defence officers

CBI probing Tatra’s two decades of monopoly
Neeraj Chauhan, TNN | Oct 21, 2012, 05.52AM IST
NEW DELHI: The CBI, which registered a case against Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh on Saturday for allegedly trying to bribe then Army chief General VK Singh to clear the purchase of Tatra trucks for the Army, is conducting a parallel inquiry into the complaint regarding the monopoly Tatra has enjoyed for two decades in supplying all-terrain trucks to the defence forces. Sources said the chargesheet in the case is in the final stages and could be filed in a Delhi court shortly. The agency is expected to charge officials of Tatra and the public sector Bharat Earth Movers Limited.
Sources said the raids were conducted at the residences of Rishi's aide Gautam Thadani, MD of Global Healthline Private Ltd, Rajan Madhu, director of F-Bar in Ashoka Hotel and Rishi's employees Anil Mansaramani and Vikram Kakia. CBI sleuths recovered Rs 98 lakh from Thadani's house.
CBI sources said preliminary investigation established Tejinder Singh's meeting with the then Army chief as well as that the latter was unhappy with what had transpired. During its probe, the CBI also established Tejinder Singh visited General V K Singh on September 22, 2010 because "the file related to procurement of Tatra trucks was lying on the table of army chief that day" and that "Tejinder Singh offered bribe on behalf of Ravi Rishi as he is closely associated with the latter".
Defence minister AK Antony's confirmation of General V K Singh's "oral complaint" was found to be strong corroborative evidence.
But what strengthened the case for a formal investigation was evidence of Tejinder Singh's alleged dealings with lobbyists for arms manufacturers, including a Korean company. Tejinder Singh has been booked under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Under Section 12 of the Act, a person who abets the offence of making a public servant accept illegal gratification, whether or not that offence is committed in consequence of that abetment, can be punished with a minimum punishment of six months in jail which may extend to five years.
"We have evidence of his links with a shadowy set of former defence officers who were on the payroll of arms manufacturers and suppliers," said a senior CBI source.
CBI probing Tatra’s two decades of monopoly
Comment: "We have evidence of his links with a shadowy set of former defence officers". Do they include 2 decades of former chiefs? It is logical all must be investigated top downwards. MOD and AHQ need to gear up to let out their skeletons. Will they?

Is Army really sensitive to the needs of ex-servicemen?

Jaipur, Oct 28 (PTI) Army Chief General Bikram Singh today said the Army is sensitive to the needs of ex-servicemen and will ensure that their issues are addressed.
Gen Singh, addressing a rally of ex-servicemen in Rajasthan''s Jhunjhunu district, said the Army would take all steps to ensure that ex-servicemen and their families are cared for.
This was his first major interaction with ex-servicemen in the state during which approximately 15,000 ex-servicemen were present, according to defence spokesperson S D Goswami.
The Army Chief said a military school would be opened in Jhunjhunu and he would pursue it from Delhi, sources present in the function said.
He said whenever he visits the prime minister, he reminds him about canteen, medical and health problems and one-rank- one-pension for ex-servicemen, the sources said. On the occasion, the Army Chief recollected the glorious history of courage and sacrifices made by the people of the state and motivated youth to join the Armed forces.
He exhorted the gathering to continue their selfless service towards society and nation building by encouraging the youth to join this noble profession. The event was marked by distribution of Mobility Scooters to disabled soldiers, financial grant for education and daughter''s marriage and felicitation of Veer Naris and elderly ex-servicemen.
Different agencies from the Army, state government and private sector established stalls to render assistance and spread awareness on pension, health, education, banking, insurance, agriculture, placement, rehabilitation and recruitment to resolve concerns of ex-servicemen.
Singh''s wife and president of AWWA (Army Wives Welfare Association), Bubbles Singh, inaugurated a medical camp with doctors, including specialists, carrying out medical checkups, rendering advice and distributing medicines to large number of veterans on the occasion.
In Jhunjhunu, the Army Chief and the AWWA president were received by Army Commander Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan.
Army sensitive to ex-servicemen needs: Gen Singh
Army Chief Visits Yole and Addresses Ex-Servicemen Rally at Pathankot
Is the Chief really batting for the ESM? KRA for veterans remains only on paper
KRA- ESM Welfare- What it really means
  • Treating the ESM and defence force communities with courtesy, respect and sensitivity to their individual circumstances
  • Responding promptly to feedback, inquiries and correspondence
  • Demonstrating personal commitment to delivering quality service- like ECHS, CSD facilities and displaying correct and up to date Pension Entitlements
  • Improving the range, accessibility, quality, timeliness, consistency and coordination of services
  • Keeping the ESM and defence force communities informed of their full entitlements and available services- re employment and rehabilitation
  • Explaining welfare decisions clearly and facilitating interacion
  • Army Mela in Thiruvananthapuram

    Thiruvananthapuram to host Army Mela after a gap of 4 years
    TNN | Oct 28, 2012, 04.45AM IST
    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This year's Army Mela, scheduled to be held from November 6 to 8, is expected to see greater cooperation from the state government. The Army has sought infrastructure support and tax waivers from the state government for the smooth conduct of the event.
    Mela, an event organized by the Army with an aim to educate, entertain and motivate youngsters to join military service, will be held at the Central Stadium, said a top Army official. The event is coming to the city after four years. "The Army Mela is a regular fixture in the event calendar of a few states and we are hoping to do the same in Kerala," he said.
    The Pangode Army station command has sought the state government's assistance for conducting the event. "While the bulk of funding for the event is borne by the Army itself, we have requested that the state government pool in its resources to make it an unforgettable event," said the official. The Army is learnt to have asked the state government for an exemption on hiring charges of the Central Stadium and assistance for erecting stalls to display weapons, and also light and sound and seating arrangements for the promotional events.
    "We had also requested that state government bear any expenditure on registration and insurance charges/taxes of mobility scooters being issued by Army to disabled ex-servicemen," said the official. If everything goes by the plan, the Army also plans to distribute a few scooters to disabled ex-servicemen during the event, he said.
    The Army has identified Veer Naris from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi, and is likely to invite around 100 women on the occasion. Veer Naris are widows and mothers of Army soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the nation. Army Wives Welfare Association will closely coordinate this event. The Army Mela will have an exhibition of arms and ammunition and also dare devil display by trained army men.
    Thiruvananthapuram to host Army Mela after a gap of 4 years

    Gallant Ex-Servicemen and Veer Naris Felicitated

    'Know Your Army' draws crowd
    TNN | Oct 22, 2012, 12.09PM IST
    ALLAHABAD: Know Your Army, the fair to make civil population more acquainted with the Indian Army was inaugurated at the Polo Ground of the city on Saturday. The mela was inaugurated by chief justice (designate) Shiva Kirti Sinha of Allahabad High Court in presence of Major General GS Chandel, Yudh Seva Medal and General Officer Commanding of Red Eagle Division.
    Know Your Army Mela, showcased the rich heritage, customs, traditions and professionalism of the Indian Army. An array of latest weaponry, guns, tanks, radars and sophisticated communication equipment were put on display for the common public. Valuable information stalls regarding various schemes initiated by the Army with respect to career opportunities and welfare of ex-servicemen were put up by the event organisers.
    Detailing on the fair, the Public Relation Officer of defence, Group Captain Amit Mahajan said that the thrilling air show by helicopters, stunning equestrian and Malkhamb show, melodious band display, daring para gliding & joyous tank rides drew the crowds by the hundreds. The weapon, tanks, guns and equipment display saw the inquisitive masses trying to get a glimpse and feel about the difficult tasks that the men in uniform perform. The recruitment stall received inquires for the young who wish to join the defence services including Territorial Army.
    The felicitations of gallantry Ex-Servicemen and Veer Naris made one and all nostalgic about their army tenure and daring also interacted with the ECHS staff for their medical benefits and the CDA (Pensions) for redressal of pension related issues.
    The PRO further informed that the event has become the talk of the town and the number of visitors at the equipment display is likely to multiply on the concluding day on October 21, 2012.
    'Know Your Army' draws crowd
    State of Bihar ESM
    Col Singh said the condition of ex-servicemen in Bihar is pathetic even after 50 years of Sino-India war. "Welfare work for these brave-hearts is still being denied by the Bihar government.
    Plea to hand over Sainik Rest House in Danapur to Army

    IAF VVIP helicopter deal: Army Brigadier under scanner

    Did Indian Brigadier solicit Italian arms kickbacks for chopper deal
    Headlines Today has an exclusive information that a brigadier and two businessmen have been named in an Italian chargesheet.
    Italian prosecutors, who have been investigating a series of corruption charges against Finmeccanica, tapped the phone of alleged middleman Guido Haschke as part of the probe into the deal. The prosecutors informed the court that they found strong clues that a part of the commission paid was routed through Mauritius and Tunisia.
    Defence Minister clueless about backdoor dealings in MOD
    “AgustaWestland is believed to have paid the mediators a commission of 41 million euros which later became 51 million,” the report says, adding that Lorenzo Borgogni, a former senior employee of the company claimed that two agents were hired to push the India deal. “In particular, Borgogni talked about international commercial operations and especially about the supply of 12 helicopters from AgustaWestland International Ltd. to the Indian government thanks to the mediation of Guido Ralph Haschke and Christian Michel. Indian law does not allow any compensation for mediators,” the report says. Incidentally, when the helicopter deal probe was first reported in March this year, Defence Minister A K Antony had informed Parliament that “no specific probe is being conducted about India-related transactions” by Rome.
    Three Indians named in VVIP chopper bribery scam
    Comment: Nothing will come out of the Investigations in India. Like all scams this too will be suitably buried, whereas the Italians like the USA will put the culprits behind bars.

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    War Wounded Foundation Meet at OTA Chennai

    Ex-Army Chief appeals for people’s contributions to War Wounded Foundation
    Former Chief of the Army Staff Gen (Retd.) S. Padmanabhan on Saturday appealed to the people to generously contribute to the War Wounded Foundation.
    Speaking at a war disabled personnel meet in the Officers Training Academy here, he said the objective of the War Wounded Foundation was long-term rehabilitation of its members.
    “Apart from corporate houses, individuals should also come forward to contribute to this noble cause. The foundation aims at rehabilitating the war-wounded personnel by enhancing their skills in different areas,” he said.
    War Wounded Foundation president Lt. Gen (Retd.) Vijay Oberoi said the foundation was registered as a charitable NGO in 2002. There were about 10,000 war disabled personnel in the country and their financial condition was not satisfactory.
    “The disability pension is not sufficient to live the life they want to … we want to enhance their skills in terms of spoken English, communication and computer applications so that they can become self-reliant and productive citizens.
    Since there is no support from government agencies, funds remained a constraint for the foundation’s plans,” he said.
    Mr. Oberoi said donations to the foundation were exempted from income tax. All disabled personnel of the armed forces would automatically become members of the foundation.
    “This meet in Chennai marks the beginning of our activities in the southern States where there are about 500 war disabled personnel,” he added.
    “Foundation aims at rehabilitating the war-wounded personnel by enhancing skills”
    Ex-Army Chief appeals for people’s contributions to War Wounded Foundation

    1965 War Wounded: A Day to Remember

    1965: A love and war story which overcame handicaps
    Arun Janardhanan, TNN | Oct 21, 2012, 03.03AM IST
    CHENNAI: On a pleasant Saturday morning, Kamalam (70) held what remains of her husband K E Sherif's hand to guide him around the Officers Training Academy in Chennai. The couple joked and smiled, not showing a trace of the devastation the India-Pakistan war has had on their lives since 1965.

    Sherif, then a 28-year-old jawan in love with Kamalam, lost both his arms below the elbow and both his eyes in a landmine blast while his battalion was crawling towards enemy posts near Sialkot. Incapacitated, Sherif decided not to marry, but Kamalam insisted that she would have a life only with him. On Saturday, Sherif, a father of three, was among the Army veterans brought together by the War Wounded Foundation in the city on Saturday.
    "His was a miraculous escape, and I was fortunate to get him back alive," said Kamalam, "We were in love for two years. And then the war happened. Every one was against our marriage since I was a Hindu Malayalee girl and he a Tamil Muslim. But I would not leave his bedside as he was undergoing treatment." The two first met when Sherif, a friend of Kamalam's soldier brother, visited their house in Bangalore.
    Despite Sherif's injury Kamalam insisted that they tie the knot.
    Soon after the couple first met at the house of Kamalam's brother in Bangalore their romance bloomed. But, Sherif was called to the battlefield not too long after this. Though the 1965 war did not resolve the Kashmir conflict, Sherif proudly recalled his sacrifice for the country and appealed to the youth to join the Army.
    He recalled that October night that plunged him into eternal darkness. "It was October 19. Six of us were crawling towards an enemy target in Sialkot, about 25km from Labore. Around 9pm, an air strike triggered a series of land mines near us. We were all believed to be dead. But all of us escaped, only I was severely injured," said Sherif, who lives in Coimbatore.
    He was shifted to an army hospital in Jammu where doctors removed the mutilated parts of his forearms to save the rest of his body. Nothing could be done to save his eyes. As he underwent multiple surgeries for a year, Sherif knew life would never be the same again. He told Kamalam that their marriage was now not possible, but she would have none of it. Coming to know that Sherif was% recuperating in Coimbatore, she went there and convinced him to get married. They tied the knot in 1967.
    Their 38-year-old son works for a soldiers' welfare board in Salem, while their two daughters are homemakers. The War Wounded Foundation brought together several such living martyrs of Independent India.Colonel (retd) T N Raman, convenor of the Tamil Nadu chapter of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement said soldiers from all major combats including the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947, 1965 and the Indo-China war of 1962 gathered for the collective.
    1965: A love and war story which overcame handicaps

    Culpability for Wastage of Funds by the Army Commanders

    Reference: Army chief, top generals wasted crores, shows defence ministry audit
    Culpability for Wastage of Funds by the Army Commanders by Major General Mrinal Suman
    Elements inimical to the services are at it once again. Senior army commanders are being accused of wasting crores of rupees through improper purchases made under Special Financial Powers of the Army Commanders. As per the press reports, a post-audit has been carried out of 55 transactions pertaining to financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11 by the Controller of Defence Accounts. The audit report has estimated the total loss to be to the tune of Rupees 103.11 crores. It is a serious indictment and deserves elaboration.
    With a view to impart enhanced autonomy in administrative and operational functioning, various financial powers have been delegated to the Army Commanders. As per the recommendations of the Committee on Defence Expenditure, the Ministry of Defence decided in November 1991 that exercise of such delegated financial powers should be with the concurrence of local financial advisors. It implies that such delegated financial powers are neither absolute nor discretionary, and can be exercised by the Army Commanders only with the prior consent of their Integrated Financial Advisor (IFA).
    The system of IFA aims to reduce delays and provide pre-contract expert advice to the executives for ensuring financial prudence and prevent irregularities.
    Role of Financial Advisors
    Commanders have to obtain prior financial concurrence of their IFA before incurring any expenditure as there is no provision for ex-post facto acquiescence.
    IFAs are tasked to carry out a careful and intelligent scrutiny of all proposals involving expenditure from the public funds to ensure economy, efficiency and propriety in public finance. Before according financial concurrence, it is their duty to seek complete and comprehensive justification for the proposals. They are authorised to even challenge the necessity for incurring projected expenditure for a given purchase.
    Unless IFA accords Acceptance of Necessity and approves the quantity to be procured, no proposal can be progressed. He questions the proposed mode of tendering and checks the list of prospective vendors. All tender documents are vetted by IFA prior to their issuance.
    Most importantly, IFA is always a member of the Commercial Negotiation Committee and participates in the following functions:
  • Appraisal of bids as regards commercial terms, delivery schedule, performance warranty, guarantee terms and acceptance criteria.
  • Determination of fair and reasonable price of the product. Preparation of a ‘Comparative Statement of Tenders’ to determine lowest bidder. Undertaking negotiations with the lowest bidder to obtain best possible terms. Diligent drafting of contract to safeguard Government’s interests.
  • Post-contract management to monitor adherence to the terms of the deal and timely invocation of penalty provisions in case of default.
  • As is obvious, IFA exercises total and all-encompassing oversight over the complete procurement process. He can stall any procurement proposal if not convinced of its financial propriety.
    The Question of Culpability
    The said audit report faults the Army Commanders for disregarding guideline while buying foreign equipment, procuring equipment from Indian agents, accepting equipment rejected by another army entity and purchase of Chinese products which may have been embedded with malignant software.
    As seen above, IFAs guide commanders at every stage of the procurement process and keep a close oversight. If that be so, onus for rendering faulty financial advice or clearing faulty cases rests on them. They should be asked to explain alleged irregularities and infirmities. How can an Army Commander be blamed for adhering to the advice of his IFA? If that be so, why have IFAs at all?
    Most outrageously, the audit report states that the local financial advisors are intimidated by military officers in command. One has not come across a more preposterous and bizarre statement. No IFA ever gets intimidated. On the contrary, they are overbearing, domineering and suffer from an acute ‘rank-equivalence-complex’. They keep comparing their pay scales with those of the service officers to draw equations with different ranks. This complex manifests itself in their condescending attitude as they tend to assume the role of dispenser of favours while according financial concurrence. Therefore, the question of their getting intimidated is all baloney.
    Inadequacies of the Current Dispensation
    It is incongruous that a duly pre-audited procurement process is found to be flawed in post-audit. Interestingly, both pre-audit and post-audit are carried out by the officials of the Defence Finance and their roles are inter-changeable.
    Unfortunately, the prime reason for the current weakness of the system is the failure of the Defence Finance officials to deliver. They are expected to act as defence financial advisors but are ill-equipped for the task.
    They know nothing about the armed forces, their equipment and functioning. Worse, most are equally ignorant of financial management tools. During a survey of the educational qualifications of the top 50 Defence Finance officers, it was seen that most of them did not possess even elementary knowledge of finance/economics – only 8 percent had studied economics at the post-graduate level. Most were post-graduates in subjects like Political Science, English, Sociology and Sanskrit. Such officials cannot be expected to grasp minutiae of financial imperatives and perform defence economic advisory functions.
    Let us look at the unenviable position of the Army Commanders. They have been asked to follow the advice of their IFAs while exercising their delegated financial powers. They are justified in assuming that all procurement proposals vetted and cleared by IFAs are in consonance with the Government rules and regulations. Therefore, it is absurd that the Army Commanders be held responsible for any alleged irregularities or omissions.
    It should be for IFAs to justify the procedure followed. They and they alone should be held accountable for faulty advice and oversight. Quite appallingly, IFAs disown any responsibility under the plea that decision making is the prerogative of the executives and they cannot be held accountable for the same. It is a most ludicrous excuse.
    The fact of the matter is that the armed forces are a soft target. The said audit report is a part of the well-orchestrated campaign to denigrate them through planted selective leaks.
    Comment: No Army Commander will sign a purchase order unless the FA certifies that every thing is in order. The media has lost all perspective and is out to make headlines even at the cost of reputation of senior army generals. The nexus of IFA Officers and dealers/ spurious vendors need to be investigated.
    Of Matters Military - Probity and Formation Commanders
    Of the last dozen cases of corruption that we heard about, how many involved officers from the EME, ASC or Ord? It is common knowledge in formations today that the 'meat' lies in op wks, S&S Imprest, ACG/ATG, MI Fund and CHT Fund. Rations and spares are passe.
    Probity and Formation Commanders
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