Taking note of allegations of wrongdoing, the Ministry of Defence has ordered a CBI probe into disproportionate assets of two serving Major Generals of the Indian Army.
The name of one of the officers had surfaced last September when it was alleged that bribes were being paid for promotions. Although the Army had then denied the allegations, sources said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar took personal interest in the matter and a civilian staffer of the Ministry was shunted out about two months ago, suggesting that a probe had been underway within the Ministry.
Major General Ashok Kumar of Army Supply Corps and Major General S S Lamba of Army Ordnance Corps have been accused of holding assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, official sources said.
“The Ministry of Defence has forwarded the matter to the CBI. The matter was under the scanner since September when allegations of wrongdoing first surfaced. The CBI action is in line with zero-tolerance in the Ministry when it comes to corruption,” a Ministry official said.
The Army refused to comment on the CBI probe. Officials said the matter is with the Ministry of Defence and an internal inquiry will follow based on the directions of the Defence Minister.
Sources said Major General Ashok Kumar is slated to retire on February 29 and is serving in the Bengal Area. Major General Lamba, who is due to retire on January 31, is posted in the Delhi Area. Both officers were conferred the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) on Republic Day 2015.
The current matter pertains to a Special Selection Board (SSB) for promotion to the rank Lt General. In September, the Ministry started probing allegations of bribery and a nexus in promotion cases. Sources indicated that the results of the board were not declassified in light of an internal inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing.
In September, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh, a former Army chief, had sought action against a senior Army officer in the matter. \”Shame is too small to describe this. RM (Raksha Mantri) must come down hard to cleanse the system,” Singh posted on Twitter.