The mystery over the Rs 100 crore donation made by the Chief of Army Staff on Army Day on January 15 this year to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, for help of flood affected victims of Jammu and Kashmir, has deepened with documents accessed by The Indian Express showing that the actual process of collecting the money started nearly two months later on March 12.
The amount was said to have been donated to the relief fund after collecting one days’ salary from officers and other ranks of the Army. However, it was nearly two months later that a letter was issued by the Army HQs to all Command headquarters, the Integrated Defence Staff, Andaman and Nicobar Command, Special Forces Command, National Cadet Corps, Assam Rifles and Directorate General of Quality Assurance on the manner in which the contribution was to be collected.
The letter was issued with the heading “Voluntary Contribution of One Days salary by Indian Army personnel to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for floods in J&K” and was is signed by an officer of the rank of Brigadier. This letter gives out the procedure which is to be followed for making the voluntary contribution and says that the list of contributors should be dispatched “latest by May 10”.
Prior to this letter a ‘Signal’ had been issued by the Army HQs on January 8 to all commands which gave out the intention of the Army Chief to make the donation. The ‘Signal’ said that there was a proposal to contribute one days’ salary on voluntary basis for victims of latest floods in J&K. It also said that the Chief of Army Staff intends to announce the measure on the occasion of Army Day 2015 and that confirmation for the same may be given “positively by January 12”.
The letter, dated March 12, goes on to say that the initial cheques for the relief fund would be sent by the Controller General of Defence Accounts to Adjutant General’s branch by June 1, 2015. “Subsequent cheques will be sent by first of every month from June to August,” the letters says adding that in turn, the Adjutant general’s branch will forward these cheques to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
Due process started in Oct 2014: Army
When contacted and asked if the presentation of a cheque for Rs 100 crores was a symbolic gesture in January, the Additional Director General Public Information, Maj Gen Shaukin Chauhan, said that it was in the October 2014 Army Commanders conference that the issue of donating one days’ salary was discussed and approved in principal. When asked about the letter issued by Adjutant generl’s branch in March, Major General Chauhan said, “We are a huge Army and there is a process which has to be followed. That is what we are doing,” he said. He also said that the issue was being unnecessarily being raked by mischievous elements.