Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ordnance Corps headless for 2 yrs


 Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), the key logistics branch responsible for weapons, ammunition and equipment, has been headless for past about two years as four of its senior most generals have been embroiled in graft cases. This is perhaps the highest number of generals from a single branch to face graft charges concurrently.
According to sources, a court of inquiry that concluded at New Delhi a few days ago, held Maj Gen GS Narula blameworthy for lapses in procurement of equipment and recommended action against him. Presided by Lt Gen P. Mohapatra, Signals Officer-in-Chief at Army Headquarters, had investigated irregularities in the procurement of items of personal clothing and personal kits for troops proceeding on UN assignments.
The inquiry had been ordered in December after Lok Sabha member Harsh Vardhan reportedly wrote to Defence Minister AK Antony earlier this year, highlighting irregularities in procurement of supplies for troops on UN missions. According to the letter, some items were procured at double the cost and the loss to the Army on this count was Rs 2.82 crore. Narula was posted as Additional Director-General (ADG) in the Ordnance Directorate at Army HQs at the time the said purchases were made. Earlier, two other Maj Generals, who had also served on the same post as Narula, have been held blameworthy by the courts of inquiries. Sources said summary of evidence (SOE) in case of Maj Gen Anil Swarup is currently underway at Jammu.
Swarup, who has been attached to the Yol-based 9 Corps, was blamed by the CoI for procuring generators, cables and boots at inflated prices. Swarup moved the Armed Forces Tribunal, challenging the proceedings against him and the case is expected to come up for hearing later this month.
The third officer, Maj Gen SP Sinha, at present posted at Chandimandir, was accused of irregularities in the purchase of general stores for the ordnance depot at Choeki. Inferior goods were allegedly bought at inflated prices.
Then there is a case of Maj Gen AK Kapur, against who the CBI filed a chargesheet for possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income. A Maj General from the AOC has recently been approved for promotion to the rank of Lt General. There are two vacancies of Lt General in the AOC, one of Director-General Ordnance Services at Army Headquarters and the other as Commandant of the AOC Centre at Secunderabad.

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