Former Army chief and Union Minister Gen VK Singh, against whom the armed forces tribunal had made some carping comments in the Sukna land scam case, on Saturday questioned the findings against him and the said the government should challenge it in a higher court.
Lt Gen PK Rath, who was given a clean chit by the tribunal, said he felt vindicated by the judgement.
Reacting to the verdict, Singh said instead of issues, the tribunal has made personal attack.
“In the tribunal’s judgment, instead of reacting on issues, personal attack has been made. Perhaps, we hardly get to see such a judgment.
“An issue which was very clear and where corruption was tried to be prevented. Perhaps through such a judgement, people will not get scared of corruption,” former Army chief V K Singh told reporters.
He was commenting on the tribunal’s virtual indictment of his actions as Army Chief in the court martial of former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen PK Rath, who was given a clean chit by tribunal in the Sukna land scam.
“They also don’t tell anybody that institution was to be constructed on this land and not just a school. Through this judgment, the morale of corrupt people will go up,” Singh said.
“You say that in view of security perspective, an NOC cannot be given on land. But, when new person comes, it is then said that there was no security concern and you don’t tell anybody about anything in this regard which suggest wrong-doing,” he said.
Gen Singh sought to question the tribunal’s knowledge of armed forces saying the “I have nothing to comment on thedecision. The tribunal has an honourable judge who is advised by the retired armed forces officers. What advise the armed forces officers give him is what he goes by because he does not know anything about armed forces.”
“There is a need for people to look at it again. In 77 pages, you do not talk whether there was a scam or not, what was the validity of the whole thing. You only talk of peripheral individual issues and we need to look at it again,” he said.
Gen Singh said the Ministry of Defence goes against several verdicts of the tribunal which are for welfare of troops and expressed hope that it will file an appeal against the verdict.
The Minister said Rath had failed to inform higher authorities about the MoU being signed by the 33 Corps with private builders to build educational institutions on a land which was sensitive in terms of security.
The Tribunal had on Friday allowed Rath’s petition in which he had alleged that Gen V K Singh had given “undue importance” to the case as he had a “serious grudge” against the then Military Secretary Lt Gen Avdesh Prakash whom he held responsible for obtaining a commitment from him on the issue of his date of birth, which stood in the way of his extension of tenure as the Chief of the Army Staff.
Meanwhile, Rath said the verdict has vindicated his stand that he had done nothing wrong in the alleged scam.
“I have suffered so much because of this for all these years. But the tribunal’s verdict has vindicated my stand,” Rath told PTI over phone from Pune.
Asked on the role of former Army chief V K Singh, who is now a Union Minister, in his case, he said, “I would not like
to get personal in these matters but I want to say that no person should be victimised by senior officers and the Army should ensure that it does not happen in future.”
He said that “from day one, I have been telling the AFT and the Army authorities that I had done nothing wrong in the process but I am relieved that justice has been done”.