Army authorities at the 11 Corps have put a former top general under formal arrest after he was convicted of professional misconduct and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by a general court martial (GCM) in a multi-million ration scam in this cantonment city Friday.
Lt Gen. S.K. Sahni, who had been under custody of the army authorities ever since the GCM started against him August last year here, is one of the highest ranking army officer to be sentenced and arrested.
The former top general was also cashiered by the GCM which held him guilty on six counts of professional impropriety, intent to defraud (the army) and acts prejudicial to military discipline.
The GCM’s order of cashiering would mean stopping of retirement benefits, including pension and gratuity, to him.
Sahni, who retired in 2006 and was facing corruption charges and allegations of gross irregularities in the ration scam that hit the army in 2005, was the seniormost army officer to be facing a GCM.
The GCM was headed by another Lt. Gen. ranked officer, Jatinder Singh.
Sahin, who was from the Army Service Corps (ASC) and served as Director-General for supplies and transport, was indicted by a probe by the army authorities for allegedly supplying sub-standard meat and dry rations to troops stationed at high altitude areas, including the highest battle-field in the world, at Siachen glacier.
The officer has been accused of allowing the purchase of expired rations for troops during his tenure as Director-General of the ASC. He was also accused of reversing the tendering process for procurement of pulses, over-looking recommendations of stock sampling, failing to ensure timely completion of supply contracts and over-looking other procedural formalities.
The ex-general was under virtual house arrest since August last year. He had got himself admitted to the military hospital here soon after the GCM commenced against him and he was taken into custody.
He was attached with the 11 Corps here after a court of inquiry (CoI) found him guilty of the charges leveled against him.
Sahni had pleaded not guity of the charges levelled against him. His case went through legal wranglings owing to pleas filed by him in the Delhi High Court and the Armed Forces Tribunal earlier.
Sahni’s conviction and sentencing comes just weeks after another top Army officer, Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, was convicted in a land scam by a court martial last month.
Rath became the first serving lieutenant general to be convicted. He became the fifth three-star army officer to have have faced such action.
Rath, the former 33 Corps Commander, was found guilty on three counts in a scam in which a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) was issued to a private realtor to transfer a 70-acre plot of land adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal’s Siliguri district.
Along with Rath, former Military Secretary Lt. Gen. Avadesh Prakash too is facing charges of fraud in the Sukna land scam and his court martial will be convened soon.
Apart from these two senior three-star officers, two lieutenant generals of the Army Service Corps (ASC) – S.K. Dahiya and S.K. Sahni – were indicted in two separate cases involving irregularities in the procurement of frozen meat for troops posted in Ladakah and discrepancies in procurement of dry rations.
Lt. Gen. Dahiya, who was found guilty of irregularities in procurement of frozen meat for troops in Jammu and Kashmir, had to retire from service after the army’s Northern Commander awarded him a recordable censure.