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The genesis of the Sukna land scam

Saturday December 03, 2011 08:53:12 PM, IANS

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Sukna scam: Lt. Gen Avadesh Prakash held guilty, dismissed

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A 71-acre civilian land, a tea estate adjacent to Sukna military station in Siliguri district of West Bengal and efforts by some military officers to transfer the land to a private real estate developer on the pretext of building an educational institution is the genesis of the Sukna land scam in which an army court found former military secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash guilty and ordered his dismissal from service Saturday.

The case dates back to 2008 when Avadesh Prakash was serving as military secretary to then army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor.

The land, though not belonging to the army, was so close to the military station that it needed a no-objection certificate from the military authorities before it could be transferred by the West Bengal government to private realtor, Dilip Aggarwal, also from Siliguri.

According to a court of inquiry conducted by the army in 2009, Avadesh Prakash was found culpable for influencing Lt Gen P.K. Rath, the 33 Corps Commander, in 2008 to get the Sukna military station officers to issue a no-objection certificate on the pretext that an educational institution will come up on that land and that wards of army personnel from Sukna military station will get a quota in the educational institution.

The court of inquiry brought out that the army had written to the West Bengal government in May 2008 to acquire the 71-acre land, also called the Chumta tea, a stand that was reiterated by Rath again in October that year, soon after taking over 33 Corps' command.

Soon after, Avadesh Prakash visited the Sukna military station on an official tour and referred Dilip Aggarwal to Rath. In March 2009, the military station issued the no-objection certificate to Aggarwal.

Later that year, this matter was brought to the notice of then Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander and present-day Indian Army chief Gen V.K. Singh, who ordered the court of inquiry and later recommended the court martial against officers involved in the land scam.





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