New Delhi: Holding media responsible for “sensationalsing” the land scam in Sukhna Cantonment in West Bengal, Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor Thursday said he had consulted the defence minister before taking action against his top generals.
“It is a process. When such a thing (action to be taken) happens, the defence ministry will also be concerned…a degree of interaction always take place and it is wrong to assume that it does not take place,” Kapoor said on Devil’s Advocate on CNN-IBN.
“I said it is an ongoing process. It will be wrong to assume that some actions were taken in isolation,” he added.
Former military secretary Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash was found guilty by a court of inquiry of using his position to influence the grant of a no-objection certificate by Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath — who was commander of 33 Corps in Sukhna — to a private realtor.
While the army chief ordered court martial of Rath, he directed administrative action against Prakash. Later, the army chief had to order Prakash’s court martial as well on Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s advice.
The Indian Army chief agreed that the incident has “embarrassed” the force. However, he said that the media has been “superactive in sensationalising” the case.
“In our country, the media has been superactive on this issue. I hope if they would have been better informed how the military law proceeds, they would have been able to handle it better. Possibly at times, they may have over-reacted in sensationalsing the issue,” Kapoor said.
Defending his earlier action, Kapoor said: “I had to ensure that I was fair, that I was just. Everyone was looked at the degree of culpability involved of that individual in the case. I also had to be concerned what is the effect it would have on the Indian Army as a whole. I also have to be concerned that my decision is not swayed by personal or media bias.”
An army court had indicted the two officers for giving the no-objection certificate to the realtor who had falsely claimed to be setting up an affiliate of the Ajmer-based Mayo College in Sukhna.
Prakash was one of the eight Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) at the Army Headquarters and acted as adviser to the army chief.
Rath was the deputy army chief-designate but his appointment was cancelled after the scam was exposed.