Fake encounters to earn medals, connivance with the arms mafia, land scams for illegal money and taking the help of subterfuge for promotions have become the character of Army units deployed in the sensitive areas of Northeast India. Why will those who do not have time to spare from their own contradictions fight with China? The new deeds committed by the Army Ordnance Corps in the Northeast that have come to light fill one with surprise. Criminal attempts are being made here to declare people who complain about corruption amongst high officials as ‘mentally insane’. If attempts are made to send a healthy person towards being ‘mentally insane’, or to prove that person as being ‘mentally insane’, then Indian law takes it as extremely serious matter. In the Indian Penal Code, there is a provision for strict punishment against an individual or individuals responsible for such criminal conspiracy. But amongst some corrupt officials of the Indian Army there is no fear of the law in India.
All this is just what is happening in the 57 Mountain Division Ordnance unit (57-MDOU) posted in Masimpur near Silchar in Assam. A situation of complete revolt has developed in this unit. There is tremendous anger amongst the medium rank officials and general Army personnel against the corrupt acts of their high officials and the atmosphere of anarchy that they have created. When and what ugly face this anger will take, no one can say. But it is some Army men themselves who say in hushed voices that it is in such a situation that firing takes place on a daily basis between each other in different Army units and people are killed. Amongst those killed there are both officials and ordinary soldiers. The Army Headquarters is not paying any attention at all towards this ‘un-military’ environment that is building up in the Army units posted in the sensitive Northeast, and that is amazing. Even in the Army Ordnance Corps Headquarters, no buzz is evident with regard to this matter, even though the complaint has already reached the Ordnance Headquarters.
The Eastern Command of the Indian Army that came into the headlines suddenly because of the Sukna land scam, is on the one hand known for its devotion to duty and commitment and on the other hand is getting known for the corrupt acts of certain officials.
The duty of 57-MDOU is to supply arms along with other material to the various Army units stationed at the Indo-China international border and engaged in round the clock surveillance. This is counted as a combat unit (field unit), therefore its audit is not done under the war accounting system. Under cover of this privilege, high ranking Army officials are mired in corruption. Any official or soldier who speaks against their black deeds is either transferred or is put out of the way by attacks on him or by declaring him ‘mentally insane’. The Army Ordnance Corps has gained expertise in this. It is worth noting that some time ago Major Anand Kumar of the Central Command, posted in the Army Ordnance Corps after being declared ‘mentally insane’, was cashiered and dismissed from his job. The mistake of Major Anand Kumar was that he had exposed the sale of sensitive armaments to outsiders and suspicious individuals, in which many high officials were involved. The same misdeed is being repeated now.
It has happened many times that armaments of the Indian Army and equipment manufactured by the Army have been recovered from terrorists and Naxalites, even to the extent that the Army’s armaments have also been captured from dacoits active in the rugged terrain of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. So much so that a light machine gun of the Army has been found in the possession of the mafia MLA of Uttar Pradesh, Mukhtar Ansari. This is what Major Anand Kumar of the Army Ordnance Corps and DSP Shailendra Singh were complaining about. Major Anand was dismissed from his job and Shailendra Singh had to resign from his job. And now this is what Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh or Ordnance technician Nayak Salim Khan or Honorary Captain P.N Tiwari and Hawaldar Surendra Singh are opposing. The difference is that then a commissioned officer was complaining and this time junior commissioned or non-commissioned officers are complaining. Out of them Naik Salim Khan was forcibly admitted to the Mental Diseases Hospital (160 Military Hospital) after the Army filled form -10 that proved him to be ‘mentally insane’. Before that Naik Salim Khan was also beaten very severely. In the 160 Military Hospital report this fact was confirmed that Major Salim not only got severely beaten by the Company Hawaldar Major and other soldiers, he was then declared ‘mentally insane’ and was dumped in the hospital. Similarly, an attempt was made in the Army to get Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh out the way by a murderous attack on him, and other officials who complained about corruption were transferred immediately. Upon complaining about the attack Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh was sent away outside on temporary duty. Worried about her husband’s safety, the wife of Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh had to write a letter to the DGOC to apprise him.
Anyhow, in the context of Army armaments and other equipment, let us remind you that there is a strict provision in the Army of counting and keeping safe even the empty shells of used bullets. Even jawans practicing firing are made to collect empty shells of bullets. But high officials are not even hesitating to sell sensitive Army equipment openly in the market. The Commanding officer of the 57 Mountain Division Ordnance unit Colonel Arunendra Thakur did not hesitate to sell to outsiders the empty ammunition steel box (H2A box) sent from the ammunition point of the Mountain Division situated at Rangapahar in Assam and gobbled up the money earned from it. H2A boxes being sold outside in huge numbers was exposed by a gate pass issued secretly for a truck. This gate pass issued under the signature of Major A. Chauhan reveals the scam going on in the 57 Mountain Division Ordnance unit. Selling empty ammunition boxes of the Army to civil recipients comes under the category of a military offense, but sources from the Army say that this business is going on unhindered. On a complaint of this matter, investigating officers from the 117 Field Regiment did not interrogate or make any enquiries from Honorary Captain P.N Tiwari of the Defense Security Service or any other related official or worker. In the meantime Subedar P.A. Khan along with many other officials and workers were also transferred elsewhere.
An even more amazing incident took place when almost 150 newly appointed firemen (non-combatant) were shown as part of the regular Army and for more than a year were fed with free rations from the Army. Whereas in fact, an amount of rupees 75 per person for non-vegetarians and rupees 50 per person for vegetarians was collecting regularly from these firemen and the collected money was gobbled up. It is worth noting that in the Army the facility of free ration is available only for officials and soldiers of combatant units. To provide free rations to the firemen, tampering was done with the documents. Fake lost ration certificates were made, names were changed, everyone was shown as a soldier of the regular Army and in the name of free rations a big economic loss was caused to the Army.
The condition of the high and top administration of the Army is such that not even the unit’s parade statement or issue ration register were checked and neither was the primary formality of calling any fireman to record their statement done. It is a crime to draw free rations from the Army’s supply through fake documents and feeding it to non military personnel, but there is no control over this crime. It is worth noting that in the Indian Army there is a daily provision for providing free of cost to every soldier 620 grams of wheat, 480 grams milk, 90 grams pulses, 185 grams meat/12 eggs, 90 grams oil, 9 grams tea leaves, 90 grams fruits and 220 grams vegetables.
All the above mentioned complaints were made to the highest and top administration of the Army. From eating up money by giving the annual contract of fish in 3-4 ponds in the unit line to contractor Maskandar Ali to showing a false shortfall in the store and purchasing material from the open market at high rates, the higher authorities were informed about everything. But, no concrete result came. By showing payment of thousands of rupees in the market in the name of local purchase, the money was actually eaten up, and goods did not even reach the store. Inspite of this store in-charge Hawaldar Surendra Singh was pressurised and forced to take over ‘stock’. Upon complaining about it instead of taking appropriate action Surendra Singh himself was transferred. Sources in the Army say that upon a search of the store of 57 Mountain Division Ordnance Corps unit, 12 trucks of surplus supplies was found, which were ordered to be returned.
On this order, without asking the requirements of other Army units, supplies were returned, but just a few days later, by showing a shortfall, the same supplies were repurchased from the open market at higher rates. Serious scams like surplus supplies lying in the store being returned without asking the requirements of other Army units and the same supplies being purchased from the open market at higher rates are happening, but there is no one to see or listen or take note. Only cursory formalities are being done. Upon complaints about the scam the Army constituted a Court of Inquiry under the leadership of Brigadier Vikas Raina of the 117 Infantry Brigade situated in Dingjung, Assam. Two Colonels were also included in the Inquiry Committee, but the Inquiry Committee did not record the statement of the prime complainant Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh himself. The irony is that it was for the Inquiry itself that the Subedar had, on orders (number-57387/3/A) from the 57 Mountain Division Headquarters, been sent from the 301 Light Infantry Regiment situated in Agartala to Masimpur. The Subedar was asked to stay in Masimpur from 9-16 May but his statement was not recorded. The Inquiry team only recorded the statement of Hawaldar Surendra Singh. In these seven days the Inquiry team kept having fun and kept getting obliged. Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh sent his statement to the head of the Court of Inquiry through registered post, but even then there was a refusal to accept it whereas the Inquiry team should not have done such an illegal act.
The funny fact is that the Court of Inquiry has ended without even recording the statement of the prime complainant and now preparations for the summary of evidence are underway. Before this too, an order to inquire into the complaint of Subedar Ajay Kumar Singh was given to Commanding Officer Colonel P.S. Vidhvans of the 117 Field Regiment, but no result emerged from that Inquiry either. And when the responsibility of inquiry was given to a top official of Brigadier rank, Vikar Raina, then too the result remained the same. In the scam going on in the Army Ordnance Corps unit of the 57 Mountain Division, a complaint has been made of the direct role and involvement of Commanding Officer Colonel Arunendra Thakur and Subedar Major Madan Lal. Had the inquiry been conducted without bias then the whole nexus would have been exposed.
You may recall that in the case of supplying expired food material to soldiers, the head of the Army Service Corps, Lieutenant General A.K.Sahni, was court marshalled and sent to jail just a short while ago. Some other charges on General Sahni in the food scam in the Army were also proved. Till now only 2 officials of Lieutenant General rank have been given punishment in this way. In the Sukna land scam, Lieutenant General P.K. Rath too had to face a court marshal and undergo punishment. In the same Sukna land scam, Lieutenant General Avdhesh Prakash escaped punishment only because of taking forced voluntary retirement.
Before this too, the CBI caught red handed the Director General of the Army Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipt Ghosh and three others. The DG, in collusion with foreign companies, had struck many Army deals. The Headquarters of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is in Kolkata and 40 factories producing armaments for the Army operate from here itself. Arms dealer Sudhir Chaudhary along with his henchman Pradip Rana, had together, in a nexus with the DG of OFB, struck a deal of 10,000 crore rupees for manufacturing medium-range ground to sky missiles. This deal was done with Israel Aerospace Industries and a commission of 600 crore rupees was taken for it. It was under this deal that it was decided to set up an Ordnance factory at a cost of 1200 crore rupees at Nalanda in Bihar, in which Bofors cannon shots and other armaments would have been manufactured. After the scam came out in the open, the Government had cancelled the licenses of the Israeli enterprise and 12 other such companies. Similarly, in the 100 crore rupees defense scam, the name of ADG (Technical Store) Major General Anil Swarup’s name has appeared. After this scam came to light, Major General Anil Swarup had mysteriously disappeared from his residence in Sector-44, Noida. Later, the secret came out that it was the Army itself that had taken away Major General Anil Swarup. The Army says he was taken for interrogation but sources in the Army say that the step was an attempt to get top officials caught in the defense deal out of the snare.
The Eastern Command of the Indian Army that came into the headlines suddenly because of the Sukna land scam, is on the one hand known for its devotion to duty and commitment and on the other hand is getting known for the corrupt acts of certain officials. You are already aware that in the Sukna land scam Lieutenant General Avdhesh Prakash Singh had to wash his hands of his job. In the struggle to control the rampant corruption that has spread in the Eastern Command, the tensions between then Commander Lieutenant General V.K. Singh and the then Chief of the Army General Deepak Kapoor remained in the headlines. It was due to this that even after becoming the Chief of Army, General V.K. Singh had to suffer the consequences in the context of his birth date. But it is also true that because of the death of three Manipuri youth in a fake encounter, the Eastern Command was shamed worldwide, and the respondents also included the name of the officer who the UPA Government, before demitting, nominated as the Chief of Army and on whose name the NDA put a mindless seal of approval.
Yes, the name of that officer is Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag. In order to make Suhag the Chief of Army his name was removed from the list of respondents for the Manipur encounter. Due to this, the names of three other officials had to be removed from that list. The thing to relish is that the Central Government itself remained in the list of respondents but the name of Suhag was removed. The same Suhag will now become the flag bearer of the Indian Army. Note here that the Manipur encounter incident could also come to light because of Major T. Ravi Kiran, an officer of the Military Intelligence Branch, who through a letter to his senior officers informed them how 3 innocent Manipuri youth — Phijam Naobi, RK Ronel, and Th Prem — were killed by Colonel Govindan Shreekumar, Major Rubina Kaur Keer and Major Nector Baum. Which top official’s conspiracy and orders were behind this fake encounter? Everybody is silent on this.