Sukna land scam

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2008: Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash found guilty, dismissed from service

Sources: 1. The Times of India, Dec 3, 2011

2. From the archives of The Times of India

Lt Gen Prakash found guilty in Sukna land scam ‘Dismissal Of Retired Officer Recommended

An Army court has found former military secretary Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash guilty in the Sukna land scam that rocked the Army in 2008. It has recommended his dismissal from service. Since he has already retired, Prakash could lose his rank besides pension and other retirement privileges. Prakash may become the seniormost Army officer to be dismissed from service. He is the second Lt General to be convicted in the scam after Lieutenant General P K Rath. The recommendations of the Army court will be considered by the Eastern Army Command and then sent to the Army headquarters here. It will be examined for legality and then put up for a final decision. The Army chief, on the recommendations of the judge adjutant general, could alter, or even overturn, the recommendations. The verdict of the military court is another major turning point in the high-profile case, in which several Army officers, including two serving Lt Generals, were accused of violating laws and military norms to favour a private contractor to take over a 71-acre plot next to the military station at Sukna in north Bengal. Prakash was the military secretary in charge of postings and promotions of the Army, when he, along with Lt Gen Rath, was named in a court of inquiry in the case.

EXIT IN DISGRACE

Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash was commanding the 33 Corps in Sukna when the land scam occurred In Oct 2009, Prakash’s “family friend” contractor Dilip Agarwal got an Army NOC to take over a 71-acre plot next to military station Court martial found Prakash guilty of misusing his office and intent to defraud After P K Rath, Avadesh 2nd Lt Gen to be convicted.

Former military secretary Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash, who faced a court martial in the Sukna land scam, was found guilty of misusing his official position, under Army Act Section 45 (conduct unbecoming of his position as an officer), and an intent to defraud, under Section 52. The court martial was held under the Eastern Army Command, since Sukna falls under its jurisdiction. General Prakash has become the second Lt General to be convicted in the scam. Lieutenant General P K Rath, who was commanding the 33 Corps in Sukna when the scam occurred, was convicted by another Army court in January. In 2009, a court of inquiry had found prima facie evidence of wrongdoing by Prakash, Rath and other Army officers. The case related to a plot next to the 33 Corps headquarters which belonged to the West Bengal government. In October 2009, it emerged that Geetanjali Education Trust, promoted by private contractor Dilip Agarwal, had obtained a no-objection certificate from Army authorities to build a massive complex next to the military station. Agarwal told the court of inquiry that he was Prakash’s family friend. The NOC was given despite an ongoing Army effort to acquire the entire land for itself.

Sukna land scam: Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash found guilty, dismissed from service

Former military secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash was on Saturday 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 get 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.

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.

The court martial was conducted after Prakash was indicted by an Army court of inquiry early last year for his role in the illegal transfer of 71 acres of land adjacent to the Sukna military station near Siliguri in West Bengal to a private realtor for constructing an educational institution in 2008. He is the third Lt Gen rank officer to have been punished in a case related to corruption. Lt Gen S K Sahni was cashiered from service for his role in the ration scam and Lt Gen P K Rath was given a punishment in the Sukna case earlier. While Prakash and Sahni were punished after their retirement from service, Rath is still serving in the army.

The scam dates back to 2008 when the alleged move to transfer the land in Siliguri district of West Bengal to a private educational trust came out in the open, leading to the Army initiating disciplinary proceedings against senior Army officials, including Prakash and Rath.

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