Job scam: NDA Commandant transferred

Defence Ministry says Lt General Jatinder Singh transferred to ensure free and fair probe

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | Published: July 5, 2012 4:07:58 am

Even as the CBI is probing the alleged recruitment scam at the National Defence Academy (NDA),the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday transferred NDA Commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh from the Academy.

“Defence Minister A K Antony has ordered that Lt Gen Jatinder Singh,Commandant,NDA,Pune,be immediately shifted from the Academy. This is with the view to ensure a free and fair investigation in the alleged bribery racket in the recruitment of Group C posts in the NDA,Khadakwasla,Pune,” a press release issued by the PIB Defence Wing said. This is the first time in the history of the academy that the commandant has been posted out on such grounds.

“We have received no formal communication from the MoD. We got to know about the development from the media and later the MoD website. We will be able to comment only after formally receiving the orders,” said Lt Commander G Girish,officiating PRO,NDA. “We are cooperating with the CBI and no internal inquiry is possible unless they formally submit their findings to the NDA,” he added.

A senior official said the commandant was informed about the development around 1.30 pm while he was chairing a conference.

What seems to have triggered the action against the NDA Commandant is a written communication from the CBI to the MoD. When contacted,superintendent of police with Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI-ACB) Rajkumar Vhatkar confirmed that the Delhi office of the CBI had written to the Defence Ministry in this regard. However,he refused to divulge further details.

A senior officer with the CBI said,“One of the arrested persons is a staff officer to the NDA Commandant. Another accused,too,reported to him. As our teams are probing the involvement of more staffers,we wanted to ensure that the investigation is free and fair. We had communicated this to the Defence Ministry. We are glad that they have taken prompt action.”

Interestingly,four days ago,the matter of the CBI probe against NDA was also taken up by four former NDA commandants. They had sent emails to three services chiefs and the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). “We wrote to the three chiefs and the hard copy of the communication might be reaching them within a day or two. Such things should not happen at an institute like the NDA. We,therefore,asked the COSC to take the strongest possible action against the Commandant,” said a former commandant.

Lt Gen Jatinder Singh,an infantry officer of the Guards regiment who took over the office of the NDA commandant on January 1,2011,is slated to retire by October-November this year. No details were available about where he was transferred to.

The development is significant given that 400 cadets of the 128th course of the NDA are in the process of joining the Academy. The Commandant’s welcome address,which was scheduled on Tuesday,was cancelled for reasons not specified.

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