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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

From Today's Papers - 15 Apr 2014

Officer of Army Chief's regiment let off in misappropriation case

A Sikh Light Infantry Colonel posted in RR faced a Court of Inquiry and was found guilty of misappropriation of regimental funds. But the Inquiry Board gets a call allegedly, asking them to acquit the officer with just soft administrative action instead of disciplinary or even tough administrative (like court martial). The officer is let off. It may be noted that Army Chief General Bikram Singh is also from Sikh Light Infantry.
This is about the regimental fund allocation to units for their day-to-day necessary expenditure. The officer in question is  Col A.L Maini, earlier posted in 19 RR and now in IMA, Dehradun as battalion Commander.
In 19 RR, under Victor Force, Maini underwent a court of inquiry (CoI) for alleged bungling/mishandling/misappropriation of funds amounting to approximately one crore Rupees. This is the annual regimental fund allotted for day to day administration.
The officer was in 19 RR from September 18, 2010 till August 2013. The CoI comprised three officers and was in progress in November 2013, as the officer was about to leave for his next place of posting, IMA Dehradun.
Col L. Singh has taken over from him., and has to somehow now compensate the loss. In other words, taxpayers will now pay for this loss. Allegedly, no briefing was given to the new Commanding Officer, who took over.
Findings of the CoI

1. Expended money beyond his powers without sanction.

2. Timelines not adhered to.

3. Illegally directed his Subedar Major to collect cash.

4. Roughly Rs 35 lakh spent but not paid.

5. Handled finances all by himself, accounts officer not in picture.

6. Unauthorised cash collected as loan and given to Maini from civil contractors.

7. Bungling in transportation funds.
Court of Inquiry ruling

1. Non adherence to laid down procedures.

2. Accepting cash from civilian contractors in contravention to orders and procedures on the management of public funds and not clearing it before relinquishing Command.

3. Not making timely payments.

4. Wrongfully instructing the Subedar Major to destroy a record of financial transactions by burning.

Just when the CoI was about to rule court martial and imprisonment, a phone call stopped everything mid-way.
Recommendations Made

1. Administrative action be taken.

2. Clear pending payments. However, the money is gone and will not be recovered.

3. Additional funds to be made available to meet the remainder of the year’s requirements which means extra load on the exchequer.

According to sources, ”It is common practice every year that each unit gets allotted funds, all of which may not be used–for example, transportation funds (to the tune of 30-40 lakh). Bungling takes place at every level”

Officer of Army Chief’s regiment let off in misappropriation case - See more at:
Officer of Army Chief’s regiment let off in misappropriation case - See more at:
Officer of Army Chief’s regiment let off in misappropriation case - See more at:

Officer of Army Chief’s regiment let off in misappropriation case - See more at:
 India lags far behind China in military spending
Bejing is No 2 with expenditure up by 7.4%; India at 9th spot: SIPRI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
The US, probably for the first time since World War II (1939-45), cut its military spending in 2013. China’s spending increased by 7.4 per cent last year, says an internationally respected think-tank.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its report “Trends in World Military Expenditure 2013” released globally today has laid out the military expenditure by the topmost countries in the world. The world, as a whole, spent $1,747 billion on building its military muscle last year -- a decline of 1.9 per cent. There was only one change in the world’s top 15 military spenders -- Canada dropped out and was replaced by Turkey, said the report. “China’s spending increased by 7.4 per cent,” the report said, adding Beijing spent $180 billion on its military.

The US, China and Russia were the top spenders followed by Saudi Arabia and France. India was at the ninth spot, one lower than what it was in 2012.

China, says the SIPRI report, has been behaving more assertively in recent years in its territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea, and with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

The Chinese military spending represents a long-term policy of rising military spending in line with economic growth. Saudi Arabia is now the fourth biggest spender, beating France and the United Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia, the largest spender in the region, increased spending by 14 per cent to reach a total of $67 billion in 2013. It climbed from seventh to fourth place -- edging out the UK from the top five. The kingdom has the highest spending as a share of its GDP -- 9.3 per cent.

The military expenditure in the Middle East has increased by 4 per cent in 2013 and 56 per cent between 2004 and 2013 -- to reach an estimated $150 billion. Iraq and Bahrain have registered hikes in military spending. “Military spending by the USA declined by 7.8 per cent in 2013 -- to $640 billion -- probably for the

first time since World War II,” the SIPRI report says.

It attributed the fall to the $20 billion reduction in outlays for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) - that mean the overseas military operations chiefly in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Trends in world military expenditure

    The US, China and Russia are the top spenders followed by Saudi Arabia and France
    There was only one change in the world’s top 15 military spenders -- Canada dropped out and was replaced by Turkey
    The world, as a whole, spent $1,747 billion on building its military muscle last year -- a decline of 1.9 per cent.
 Baru blames Antony, ex-Army chief for scuttling PM’s Siachen initiative
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
Quality of military leadership was an issue that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to contend with, his former aide disclosed in a tell-all book, underscoring that besides opposition from political leaders within the government the varying stance of the then Army Chief General Joginder Jaswant Singh, currently holding a gubernatorial post, led to stalemate on Siachen.

Manmohan’s initiative

Referring to the attempts by the Prime Minister to follow-up on his June 2005 declaration that Siachen Glacier would be a "symbol of peace" rather than conflict, former Media Adviser to Prime Minister Sanjaya Baru in his book "The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh" said the option to demilitarise the battlefield occupied by both India and Pakistan since 1984 was the last in the series of steps envisaged by both sides through track-2.

The first step would be to make the Line of Control (LoC) just a "line on a map", the second would be to strengthen local self-government on both sides of the LoC and the third step would entail creation of "joint or cooperative institutions" under the charge of Kashmiri leaders to coordinate polices on matters of common interest. "If all this worked and peace was restored, then the fourth and final element of the peace formula would be "agreed withdrawal" of troops from both sides.

Baru says while there has been some criticism on the Prime Minister's Siachen proposal in India, the fact is that he pursued this idea only after consulting every retired Army General who had actually commanded troops at Siachen. "Each one of them had been witness to the tragic deaths of soldiers and the huge expense of the operation. All of them supported the Prime Minister's decision to find a final solution to the problem of Kashmir and Siachen," the book said

The author says while the Prime Minister wanted former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to own and propagate the Kashmir peace formula, he was quite willing to sell this as a "Musharraf formula" rather than a Manmohan-Musharraf formula.

"He believed at the time that it would be tougher for Musharraf to sell the peace formula in Pakistan than for him to get majority opinion in India on his side....In Pakistan, Musharraf would have to deal with political parties, religious groups and the army, the Prime Minister felt that in India there would be a wider constituency of support, including large sections of the Congress, several regional parties and the Left. He thought the only real opposition would come from the BJP," Baru said.

‘Underestimated resistance from within’

However, Baru said, "The Prime Minister perhaps underestimated likely resistance from within his own part. Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony, as successive defence ministers in the UPA-1, were reportedly not enthusiastic about a deal on Siachen, though Sonia had blessed the peace formula. The Armed forces were ambivalent, with the retired General who had served in Siachen favouring a deal to end the agony of the troops serving in that inhospitable terrain, but the serving General was not willing to trust Pakistan on a deal," the book said.

‘Had to fight declining quality of defence services’

Adding to the woes was the stand of the then Army Chief.

"The Prime Minister had to also contend with a declining quality of defence services leadership, which has since become all too visible. For me, the first sign of this decline was evident in the manner in which former Army Chief General JJ Singh dealt with the Siachen issue.”

“In closed-door briefings, the General would say a deal with Pakistan was doable, but in public he would back Antony when the defence minister chose not to back the PM... I was never sure whether Antony's hawkish stance was because he genuinely disagreed with the Siachen initiative or whether he was merely toeing the Nehru-Gandhi family line that would not allow the PM to be the one finally normalising relations with Pakistan. After all, the Kashmir problem had its roots in Nehru’s policies. Both Indira and Rajiv tried to solve it and failed. Would Sonia, who backed the peace initiative with Pakistan, finally allow the Prime Minister to resolve this legacy of history and enter the history books? I remained a skeptic. I felt she would wait till Rahul became PM so that he could claim credit," he says.
Indian forces took part in Lankan war: Plea
CHENNAI: Did India clandestinely deploy its armed forces in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the ethnic war in 2009?

A PIL filed in the Supreme Court has said Indian military personnel took direct part in the war, and that some were even injured in the battle. A Sikh officer was commanding the forces, it said, citing eyewitness evidence and international probe. Noting that deploying Indian military without parliamentary or presidential nod is illegal, it sought a special tribunal to probe and prosecute persons who were behind the "illegal war", besides compensation to the immediate families of the victims.

The petition filed by Delhi-based advocate Ram Sankar, secretary of Delhi Tamil Advocates Association, last week has been listed for hearing on April 17.

The petition said Indian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel "were unlawfully sent to Sri Lanka to aid and abet the Sri Lankan forces in their internal war against Tamil minorities" in 2008 and 2009, without declaring an open war or without the sanction of the President of India, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces, and without parliamentary sanction required under Article 246 of the Constitution.

Sankar said he visited Sri Lanka several times as part of international humanitarian efforts. "Asylum seekers have said that a turbaned Indian officer was seen commanding the armed forces that were attacking Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu."

"The authorities, without declaring an open war, deployed the personnel of armed forces in aid and abetment of the armed forces of Sri Lanka. This fact was also not revealed to Parliament, which alone is vested with the power to regulate the military affairs. There is no provision in the Constitution permitting the use of Indian armed forces for any purpose other than for the defence of India," he said.

"This clandestine action of Indian armed forces to assist the Sri Lankan armed forces against Tamil rebels in a domestic conflict, not for the defence of India, in 2008 and 2009 is reported in paragraph 56 of a report prepared by an independent international panel of experts appointed by the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon. It was published on March 31, 2011," the PIL read.

It wanted the apex court to constitute a special investigation team under its control and supervision to probe individual and collective roles of Indian armed forces against Tamils, including persons of Indian origin, in Sri Lanka. It wanted the court to direct the authorities to constitute a special tribunal to prosecute those who committed the crimes against the lives, property and honour of Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka, and to direct them to pay adequate compensation to the immediate family members of the victims.

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