Sukna land scam: army court’s verdict likely Friday


Shillong : An army court that has been asked to revise one of its findings against former 33 Corps commander, Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, in the Sukna land scam in West Bengal is expected to pronounce its verdict Friday, an officer said Thursday.

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“The court has heard the submissions of both sides on the revision order issued by the conforming authority and the judgment is expected to be pronounce tomorrow (Friday),” the officer in the army’s legal department told IANS.

The confirming authority in the case is the Eastern Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, before whom the verdict of the general court martial (GCM) will then be placed. He had June 17 asked the GCM to revise its finding of Rath being found not guilty of one of the charges against him – intent to defraud.

Rath, the first serving three-star officer to be convicted of wrongdoing, has been charged with incorrectly issuing a no-objection certificate to a private realtor to construct an educational institution on a 70-acre plot adjacent to the Sukna military station in Darjeeling district.

“I am consequently of the view that finding of not guilty with reference to the first charge – intent to defraud – appears to be perverse and against the weight of evidence on record and need to be reconsidered by the court,” Bikram Singh said in his revision order.

Rath had challenged this on the ground that his appeal against the GCM’s verdict was pending before the Indian Army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh.

The GCM, comprising five senior lieutenant generals and headed by Lt. Gen. I.J. Singh, had in January found Rath guilty.

Another senior officer, Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash, who was the military secretary at the Army Headquarters when Gen. Deepak Kapoor was the army chief and has now retired, is also facing a court martial in the case.