| Updated at: 1742 PST, Saturday, January 22, 2011|
NEW DELHI: Lieutenant General P.K. Rath, who was found guilty in the Sukhna land scam by an Army Court in New Delhi, was on Saturday handed down a sentence including a two-year seniority loss and forfeiture of 15 years of service for pension purposes.
Lieutenant General Rath was found guilty on three counts -- firstly for providing a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction of the building next to the Army headquarters in Sukna, secondly for signing a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) with the private builder and thirdly for not informing the Eastern Command headquarters while the process was being carried on by him.
"To take rank and precedence as if appointment as substantiating the Lieutenant General bore dated May 24, 2010, forfeiture of 15 years service for pensionary benefits and severely reprimand," General Court Martial (GCM) Presiding Officer Lieutenant General I.J. Singh said in his verdict.
This verdict will now have to be confirmed by the Army Chief and the Defence Ministry.
The land scam came into the open in mid-2008 and the names of Lieutenant General Rath and Lieutenant General Avadhesh Prakash figured among the senior army officers who influenced the decision to issue the NOC to a Siliguri-based private builder to construct an educational institution on a 70-acre land adjacent to the Sukna military station in Darjeeling.
The private builder had floated a trust - Agarwal Geetanjali Education Trust - to set up an affiliate school of the prestigious Mayo College in the area.