January 8, 2020 1:29:00 pm
An Army court of inquiry (CoI) held into the theft of two INSAS rifles and more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition in an armoured regiment in Rajasthan’s Suratgarh, has blamed the chain of command of the unit for laxity. The CoI also found that a jawan of the unit had committed the theft in order to sell the rifles and ammunition in his home state Gujarat.
The inquiry has blamed the entire chain of command, starting from the Commandant of the 50 Armoured Regiment, second in command, Quarter Master, Risaldar Major and several others for laxity. The CoI has found that there have been several security and procedural lapses in the regiment by not adhering to Army Orders and Army Instructions and that there was “nonchalant attitude” in all ranks of the unit for which the Commandant is to be blamed.
The Indian Express had earlier reported the theft of the rifles in September last year from the unit. Apart from the two rifles, the jawan has been blamed for stealing four INSAS magazines and more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition of 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and .22 mm calibres.
Army CoI blames chain of command for lapses ‘There has been a poor organisational climate wherein there has been no structured grooming of young officers, young soldiers and families in station. Also, there has been inadequate monitoring of cyber activities, including social media, in respect of regimental personnel. Dereliction of duties by various appointments have not been identified and hence not rectified over a period of time,” the inquiry notes.
The CoI has also recommended a detailed intelligence inquiry into the affairs of the accused jawan as he has been found to have been active member of various social media platforms and has been communicating with unknown persons. It was also found that he had been a member of a number of applications banned for the Army personnel.
The CoI has recommended detailed investigation by a specialist agency for further probe. Another Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the regiment, of the rank of Risaldar, has been blamed for pilferage of ammunition, which was recovered from his house.
This JCO was found to have managed to stow away a variety of ammunition of .22 mm, 7.62 mm and 9 mm calibres in his house. The Risaldar Major of the regiment has been blamed for failing to provide timely advice to the Commandant on the deteriorating atmosphere in the unit.
Yet another incident of theft of rifles occurred in December 2019 when a jawan of the Sikh Regiment and his accomplice stole two INSAS rifles from security personnel on duty at Army Education Corps Centre in Pachhmarhi in Madhya Pradesh. The jawan was later nabbed from his native village in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab by a joint team of Madhya Pradesh Police and Punjab Police. Preliminary investigations had revealed that the duo wanted to commit some thefts using the stolen rifles.
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