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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 26 Oct 2010

Ration scam Lt Gen moves AFT for bail
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service Chandigarh, October 25 Lt Gen SK Sahni,
the first officer of the rank of lieutenant general to face court martial
proceedings for alleged professional impropriety, has moved the Armed Forces
Tribunal (AFT) challenging his trial and seeking release from close arrest
on bail. Taking up his petition, the AFT's Chandigarh Bench, comprising of
Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen HS Panag issued notices to the Union of
India for November 1 to hear arguments on his application for bail. The
Tribunal has fixed December 15 for hearing of the case challenging his court
martial. General Sahni, who retired as Director General Supplies and
Transport, has sought release from close arrest so that he can continue his
medical treatment, besides contending that these were no cases for his
absconding or tampering with the evidence. He has also claimed that his
trial has come time-barred. He has been in close arrest since August 6, when
his trial commenced at Jalandhar, where he is attached with Headquarters 11
Corps. General Sahni is facing several charges pertaining to irregularities
in the procurement of dry rations for troops and professional impropriety.
As the case has dragged over the years through legal wrangling in the High
court and the AFT, it was recalled from retirement under the provisions of
the Army Act to face trial by court martial. At present three lieutenant
generals are facing disciplinary proceedings for professional impropriety,
the other two being former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash and
former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen PK Rath, who was associated with the land
transfer case at Sukna in West Bengal. This is perhaps the highest number of
lieutenant generals ever to face action at one time.
Antony: Pak should shed ambivalence on terror
Tribune News Service Defence Minister AK Antony with Army Chief General VK
Singh at the Army Commanders Conference in New Delhi on Monday. Defence
Minister AK Antony with Army Chief General VK Singh at the Army Commanders
Conference in New Delhi on Monday. - PTI New Delhi, October 25 Defence
Minister A.K. Antony opened the five-day Army Commanders' Conference here on
Monday. Being presided over by the Chief of the Army Staff, General VK
Singh, the conference is being organised to review the security situation,
emerging challenges, options and strategies. Addressing top Army
commanders, Defence Minister AK Antony today said Pakistan needs to "shed
its ambivalence on terrorism". Pakistan, it appears had not given up
posturing against India. New Delhi, he said, was not unduly concerned,
however, he asked the Army to maintain a constant vigil on developments in
Pakistan. Pointing out that fighting terrorism had cost the nation
substantially, Antony affirmed: "We will crush terrorism with all our
might". Due to the constant vigil by the Army, incidents of violence have
declined in Jammu and Kashmir. "The Army has been quite successful in
countering the proxy war and in minimising the incidents of terror," Antony
said while warning, "...still, as long as the terror infrastructure across
the border continues to flourish, we cannot afford to drop our guard". The
Defence Minister said that the security situation in the 'Af-Pak' region
continues to be a cause for concern. "Despite the physical and material cost
involved, India has at all times, advocated peaceful and stable ties with
all nations, including our neighbours," Antony said. "The volatile political
situation in our immediate neighbourhood has the potential of having a
debilitating impact on the region. India's role in preserving peace and
stability thus, becomes all the more important," he added. Antony
underlined the need for probity and transparency in defence deals. "I wish
to strongly reiterate that we must adopt zero tolerance towards corruption.
Even the slightest hint of corruption will erode the lofty image of our
Armed Forces," Antony said. Earlier this morning in response to questions
by reporters, he had said the ministry was examining the alleged
irregularities in the Adarsh housing society in Colaba, Mumbai where senior
generals like former Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen NC Vij reportedly
own flats. Issues pertaining to operational logistics, including
infrastructure development and modernisation, will also be discussed. The
conference will also focus on training and its effectiveness based on
state-of-the-art technology for meeting the future challenges as also
attaining a high state of combat readiness. Separately, A.K. Antony has
said that Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) station at Tarapore in
Maharashtra will be commissioned very soon. The Defence Minister wanted that
establishing a chain of 46 static sensors atop the lighthouses along our
coastline needs to be hastened. A lot more needs to be done compared to what
has been achieved till now, the Minister added.
It's official, Obama won't intervene on Kashmir
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service New Delhi, October 25 Days ahead of
Barack Obama's visit to India, the United States has reassured India that
the American President has no intention of playing the role of a mediator
between India and Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. "The US policy
on Kashmir is very clear.the conflict in Kashmir is an issue between India
and Pakistan," senior US government officials told reporters here today,
underlining that America or any other country had no role to play in
resolving the issue. The US officials, who did not wish to be identified,
were asked to comment on the perceived shift in China's stand on Kashmir and
the fresh attempts being made by Pakistan to internationalise the issue in
the wake of the recent unrest in the valley. New Delhi believes that China
is trying to make the issue 'trilateral' since it is in illegal occupation
of a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) seceded to it by Pakistan.
Beijing has of late been issuing stapled visas to Indian nationals from
Jammu and Kashmir and recently denied visa to a top Indian General, Lt Gen
BS Jaswal, who commands the Indian forces in the sensitive border state.
The American officials sought to justify the latest military aid of more
than $2 billion announced by Washington for Pakistan, saying it was meant to
enhance Islamabad's capabilities to fight terror. "It is important for both
India and the US that Pakistan fights terrorism.we are constantly telling
Pakistan that it has to do more on this front." Briefing the media on the
November 6-9 visit of President Obama to India, they said the itinerary of
the American leader's trip would be announced 'very soon' by the White
House. The focus of the visit would be to demonstrate what the two
countries could do together on a host of issues from health to defence and
trade to climate change than talk rhetoric. "We have some great things going
since President Obama engaged with your prime minister in Washington," the
officials said, referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's state visit to
the US last November. It was quite clear from the statements of the
American officials that Washington was quite keen on signing three key
defence pacts with India, including a logistics support agreements (LSA) and
the communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement
(CISMOA). "It is not an issue that has been taken off the table," one of
the officials said when asked if the defence pacts would come up for
discussions during Obama's visit. Defence Minister AK Antony, who had
visited Washington last month, had told his American interlocutors that the
proposed defence accords were now undergoing 'internal consultations' in
India. The US spokespersons were hopeful that India would adhere to its
commitment to abide by international norms while joining the Convention on
Supplementary Compensation (CSC) with the IAEA now that Parliament has
passed the civil nuclear liability bill. The US has expressed certain
reservations over the liability clause in the legislation passed by
Parliament. However, India has ruled out making any changes in the bill,
saying it was in conformity with international norms. Asked if the US would
assist India in becoming a member of the nuclear suppliers' group (NSG),
they explained that the NSG was a voluntary organization, which worked on
the basis of consensus. Any change in its character would have to be
approved by all members of the grouping. On India's candidature for a
permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the officials reiterated the
ambiguous stand that it has been taking for years.
Army top brass in Mumbai land row?
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: October 25, 2010 21:10 IST Mumbai: A
high-rise complex close to defence land in Mumbai's upmarket Cuff Parade is
at the centre of a major controversy. A complaint filed by a senior naval
officer alleges that a collusion between politicians and defence officials
deprived war widows and military veterans of the land. The matter is so
serious that it has forced the Defence Minister to issue a clarification
which could tar the Army's top brass. "The government is examining this
matter; we are taking it very seriously," Defence Minister AK Antony said.
The Western Naval Command has raised more concerns in a letter to the
Maharashtra government. It alleges that the building is too close to Defence
installations and also violates coastal regulation zone norms. The
high profile flat-owners of the Adarsh Housing Society, who are the alleged
beneficiaries of the violations, include former Army chiefs General NC Vij
and Deepak Kapoor, former Navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh, former Union
minister Suresh Prabhu, and Congressman Kanhaiyalal Gidwani. "Navy has
already said so many times about not giving the No Objection Certificates
(NOC) and occupation certificates to all the concerned departments of the
state government," said Narendra Vispute, Assistant PRO, Defence. "Our
society has got all the clearances, we are a registered cooperative society
land and the land belongs to the state government," said Kanhaiyalal
Gidwani, Congressman and a flat-owner. But the ownership of the land has
also come under a cloud. The Western Naval Command alleges the plot belongs
to the Army and was originally allotted in 2003. Yet, in 2005, the state
government staked claim to it. The allegation is that this change in
ownership made it easier to corner flats for politicians and senior Army
officers. The promoters of the society say this is a case of sour grapes -
those who did not get flats in the building are now raising objections. They
also say that they paid Rs. 23 crore to the state government for the land.
It's a controversy which the Defence Ministry needs to get to the bottom of
before it escalates any further.
450 terrorists waiting to enter India, says army
Jammu, Oct 25 - Around 450 guerrillas are waiting to cross the Line of
Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, an Indian Army officer said Monday,
adding that the Pakistan Army resorts to firing and breaches ceasefire
agreement with India to facilitate infiltration of terrorists. Intelligence
inputs suggest that there were around 450 terrorists waiting to cross over
to the Indian side, Brigadier General Staff of the 16 Corps Satish Dua told
reporters Monday. 'Our troops are vigilant. We have set up three-tier
security along the LoC and we will frustrate all plans of infiltrators,' he
said. However, voicing serious concern over the repeated ceasefire
violations by Pakistani Army along the 744-km-long LoC that divides Jammu
and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, Brigadier Dua said that 'the
ceasefire agreement is breached as a diversionary tactic to facilitate
infiltration'. The motive behind the ceasefire violations by firing across
the LoC is to 'infiltrate terrorists from a nearby area or elsewhere,'
Brigadier Dua said. Indian and Pakistani armies had halted their hostile
operations Nov 26, 2003, when the ceasefire came into effect on the border
following an agreement between New Delhi and Islamabad. Brigadier Dua said
that most of these violations have taken place in Krishnaghati sector in
Mendhar area of Poonch district, and the latest such violation took place
Sunday evening in which one Indian soldier was killed.

Army cycle expedition arrives in Delhi
New Delhi, Oct.25 : Former Indian Army chief General J. J. Singh, who is
also Governor Arunachal Pradesh, received the cyclists of the 9 Maratha
Light Infantry here on Sunday to conclude the expedition titled 'Ace of
Spade Aman Yatra (Peace March)'. The battalion started the cycling
expedition on October 11 from Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district. Singh
said that he is proud of the Indian Army's age-old method of developing
teamwork and leadership. "I have always believed that sports, adventure,
outdoors are the Army's age old method of bringing in spirit, camraderie and
also for officers and junior leaders to learn skills of leadership and team
work," said Singh. Participants said that they had a very pleasant
experience travelling from Poonch to Delhi. "This event is under the Army
Adventure Cell. In this event, we are coming by cycles. Wherever we go,
there is a halt of 14 days, so it's a huge time. We have met many people
during this. People came to know about the Army. We told them that how Army
works, what all happens in the Army. We met many school children," said
Lieutenant V. K. Singh. "Many civilians were with us, who will return and
tell everybody that how Army works. So, this is a very good event. We also
felt nice. We met many people. The message we want to convey through this is
peace," he added. The cyclists covered around 1,100 kilometres travelling
through Jammu, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Haridwar and Meerut before reaching
Delhi. (ANI)
Pakistan should shed its ambivalence on terrorism: Antony
TNN, Oct 26, 2010, 01.58am IST NEW DELHI: Pakistan should shed its
ambivalence on terrorism, defence minister A K Antony said while addressing
the top brass of the Indian Army. "Pakistan does not appear to be willing
to leave its India-centric posturing. It will have to shed its ambivalence
in dealing with terror groups. Though we are not unduly concerned, we will
have to keep constant vigil on the developments in Pakistan," Antony said at
the Army commanders conference. The five-day conference, to be attended by
senior Army generals, will review the security scenario, operational and
administrative preparedness and look at improving the Army's performance. It
will also focus on training, and its effectiveness based on state-of-the-art
technology. Fighting terrorism costs the nation substantially, Antony said,
while reiterating that India would crush terrorism "with all our might".
"The Army has been quite successful in countering the proxy war and in
minimising the incidents of terror," he said. "Still, as long as the terror
infrastructure across the border continues to flourish, we cannot afford to
drop our guard," he added. According to him, the security situation in the
Af-Pak region continues to be a cause for concern. "Despite the physical and
material costs, India has at all times, advocated peace and stability with
all nations including our neighbours," he said. "The volatile political
situation in our immediate neighbourhood has the potential of having a
debilitating impact on the region. Indias role in preserving peace and
stability thus, becomes all the more important," he said. The MoD had
introduced changes in the defence procurement procedure "to increase private
participation", and he was "confident that the changes in our procurement
procedures will help in realising the full potential of public private
partnership and leverage the advantages in the fields of R & D and
manufacturing". The Defence Minister reminded the senior army generals that
there cannot be any compromise on probity. "I wish to strongly reiterate
that we must adopt Zero Tolerance towards corruption in letter and spirit.
Even the slightest hint of corruption will erode the lofty image of our
Armed forces that the people of our nation have become used to," he added.

Tainted defence officer built Colaba tower
A retired junior defence estates officer, once charged with corruption,
coordinated the takeover of a south Mumbai army park that is now a 31-storey
super-luxury building - cleared on the condition that it would be a
six-storey structure housing war veterans and widows - in one of Asia's
costliest swathes of real estate. India's defence ministry is now
struggling with a request from the commander of its Western naval command to
investigate the repeated subversion of various laws that eventually allowed
RS Thakur to become general secretary of the Adarsh Cooperative Housing
Society within the bounds of the Colaba Military Station in Cuffe Parade,
where flats sell for Rs 50,000 to Rs 80,000 per sq ft. The flats, including
the land, cost the society and its members Rs 26 crore. The market value is
anywhere between Rs 500 to Rs 800 crore. "There is very big money, and very
powerful people involved," said a highly-placed source in the defence
ministry, refusing to be quoted, given the sensitivity of the case.
"Frankly, it is going to be very difficult to probe the complaint (made
earlier this year by the admiral heading the Western Naval Command in
Mumbai), but we are perusing it." Once a lush 6,490 sq m of about 100 trees
called the Kukri Eco Park (named after an Indian submarine sunk during the
1971 war), the owners' list in Adarsh now includes a former naval chief, two
former army chiefs - among a host of other senior officers - top Maharashtra
bureaucrats, members of parliament and Thakur, who retired this year from
the defence estates department. Investigations by the Hindustan Times -
which has a list of beneficiaries; fake, past and present - reveal a
pattern: A collective manipulation of laws that led Thakur's Adarsh deal to
be cleared in stages since 2003 by Congress chief ministers, Sushilkumar
Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh (both now union ministers), the then army
commander, Maharashtra and Goa Sub Area, Maj Gen T N Kaul, and a host of
Maharashtra government bureaucrats, including former Panchayati Raj
additional secretary and former Mumbai municipal commission, Jairaj Phatak.
"I don't remember the case," said Deshmukh, union minister for heavy
industry. Shinde could not be reached. Defence Minister AK Antony said the
government was "examining the matter seriously". Contacted in Nagpur,
Thakur said "those who failed to get flats" were now complaining, including,
he implied, Vice Admiral Sanjiv Bhasin, chief of the Western Naval Command,
who has requested the Naval chief for a probe. "Khatte angoor kaun khaya
(Who's eaten sour grapes)?" asked Thakur. "He [Admiral Bhasin] should know
why he has complained. We told so many people, sorry, you cannot be
accommodated." In 2003, Thakur was being probed by the central bureau of
investigation for the illegal transfer of defence land in Nagpur. "Do you
expect me to respond to that statement?" said Admiral Bhasin. He said he had
been writing to "all authorities concerned for the past six-seven months" to
get the clearances revoked. "No one is aware of who the members are. We
wrote to the registrar of properties," said Bhasin, who regards the towering
building as a threat to security and naval air operations. "The registrar
told us to approach the society. The society did not respond for a month and
said the list was being finalised by the government of Maharashtra." Bhasin
said he then requested the chief secretary to withhold an occupation
certificate until the names are made public. "We want to do a scrutiny of
all officers, and if they are civilians, we will ask the police department
to verify their antecedents. The MMRDA [Mumbai Metropolitan Region
Development Authority] may have been pressured to issue the certificate last
week because of the influential people involved." Bhasin has again asked for
a revocation of the occupancy certificate. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan did
not even acknowledge his government's involvement: "Before ordering any
probe, we will have to first look into the ownership issue of the plot,
whether it is a state government-owned plot or no (sic)." Since 2004, there
has been a spate of additions and deletions to the list of Adarsh society
members, often coinciding with their stints in power. As for the junior
officers, they have all been dropped. Among the "Kargil Heroes" named on
the original list of 71 members of the Adarsh Society - there are now nearly
100 flats - are Subedar Ramnarain Achelal Thakur and Major Rajiv Kumar
Hitnarain Singh. They never owned flats in Adarsh. Army sources told
Hindustan Times that they had no record of these soldiers. They were
replaced with senior defence officers, an influential set of politicians,
two MPs, an MLC (member of the legislative council) and bureaucrats. That
included an IAS officer married to the then Mumbai district collector, who
deleted 34 names from the first list questioning their "eligibility".
Clearances came thick and fast, said the defence ministry source. One of
those whose son got a flat was Jairaj Phatak, managing director, Rural
Electrification Corporation. "My son became a member of the society in
2003-04, when I was the secretary of school education and had no say in land
allotment or town planning permissions," said Phatak. "He met all the
eligibility criteria. No sane person would have refused the membership."
Phatak was the municipal commissioner in 2007, when the society got
additional floor space and clearance from the municipal corporation,
allowing a 31-storey skyscraper in a coastal regulatory zone. Phatak
admitted this but clarified that the concerned land development approvals
were under the purview of MMRDA and the matter came to the High Rise
Committee only because MMRDA does not have in house committee to clear
Pak Unwilling to Leave India-Centric Posturing: Antony
New Delhi | Oct 25, 2010 India slammed Pakistan for its unwillingness to
give up "India-centric posturing" and asked the neighbouring country to shed
its ambivalence in dealing with terror groups. Defence Minister A K Antony
said though India was not unduly concerned, its armed forces would have to
keep "a constant vigil" on the developments in Pakistan. Inaugurating the
five-day Army commanders conference here, Antony said, "Pakistan does not
appear to be willing to leave its India-centric posturing. It will have to
shed its ambivalence in dealing with terror groups. Though we are not unduly
concerned, we will have to keep constant vigil on the developments in
Pakistan." Pointing out that fighting terrorism cost the nation
substantially, the Defence Minister said, "We will crush terrorism with all
our might." Noting that violence in Jammu and Kashmir had "shown signs of
abating" due to the constant vigil by the Army, he said, "The Army has been
quite successful in countering the proxy war and in minimising the incidents
of terror. "Still, as long as the terror infrastructure across the border
continues to flourish, we cannot afford to drop our guard," The Defence
Minister said the security situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region
continued to be "a cause for concern" and added that despite the physical
and material costs, India had at all times advocated peace and stability
with all nations. Antony said the volatile political situation in India's
immediate neighbourhood had the potential of having a debilitating impact on
the region and pointed out that country's role in preserving peace and
stability became all the more important. Asking the armed forces to
maintain a high level of operational readiness, Antony stressed that the
government remains committed to modernisation and indigenisation. "The
Defence Ministry has introduced changes in the Defence Procurement Procedure
to increase private participation. I am confident that the changes in our
procurement procedures will help in realising the full potential of
public-private partnership and leverage the advantages in the fields of
research and development." Underlining the need for probity and
transparency in defence deals, he said, "I wish to strongly reiterate that
we must adopt 'zero tolerance' towards corruption in letter and spirit. Even
the slightest hint of corruption will erode the lofty image of our armed
forces that the people of our nation have become used to." The inaugural
session of the Army Commanders' Conference was attended among others by the
Army chief General V K Singh and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar. The
five-day conference will review the security situation, emerging challenges
and strategies.


  1. Investigations will reveal involvement of mr thakur in more cantonements in maharahtra. Interestingly, out of the GOCS who played role in this land scam, two GOCS are from gorkha regiment, two from guards regiment. The kingpins are gen kaul and brig wanchu, both kashmiris. How does thakur connect with any of them? Money honey. Why is the Quarter master general at delhi trying to hush up the matter? Does he have a flat too( even by proxy)? Or it is just that he is also from guards regiment. more soon...

  2. Read your comments on the Cartoon. My Compliments. Very well said. Couldn't agree with You more. MF Hussain nearly got away drawing crap. Patience & tolerance are good but not when one is taken for granted. There is a limit beyond which checks are in order.



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