Date: 07 Jan 2008


Reward for Corruption & Incompetence in Defense Forces 
It is unfortunate corruption has become common in defense forces that there was only one commander to have objected to it and was taken off operational command and most corrupt and incompetent officer responsible for Rs. 5000 crores ration fraud replaces him. But main reason was he ordered investigation in to big frauds and corruption. We must thank Mail Today for this exposure. 
An Air Marshal on panel evaluating a mega project joins the organization that won the contract and had in fact sought premature retirement soon after the contract was awarded to lead the implementation of Delhi Airport Project. 
Earlier another ace Air Vice Marshal who investigated and reported incompetence of another AVM responsible to crossing air space in Pakistan air that resulted in Pak firing that knocked an engine of Turbo Prop was forced to resign. 
During George Fernandes tenure as defense minister a clash ensued with a Naval Chief. 
·        Is it not time “Corrupt Mind Be Prescribed As Essential Qualification” for Defense officers. 
Reaso ns for transfer were; 
·        Egg scam: 60 Colonels were pulled up when irregularities in purchase of
eggs came to light.
·        Tent scam: Inquiry and action into purchase of tents and other equipment
·        Refused resignation of Major General A.K. Lal, found guilty of sexual
harassment of a lady officer, and rendered appropriate action.
·        Gave a letter of displeasure to Lt. Gen S K Dahiya, for the frozen meat
·        Only Army commander to voice concern over the huge corruption in
the Army Commanders’ Conference.
Can’t I ndia isolate officers from corruption opportunities and let them focus entirely on operational matters? 
When will we learn to reward honest and competent officers?
Ravinder Singh January06, 2008 
Lt-Gen’s transfer raises a stink
By Mail Today Bureau
Mail Today January04, 2008 P-14
The transfer of Lieutenant General H.S. Panag to the Army’s Lucknow-based Central Command has created a flutter.
Lt.-Gen. Panag, who was commanding the Army’s largest, operationally
sensitive and cash-rich Udhampur-based Northern Command, had ordered inquiries into various scams that had taken place in the Command in the
recent past. Sources said he was posted out because of that.
The Army Headquarters on Thursday denied that and said the transfer of senior
officers, specially the commanders, were routines and had no impact on an investigation process, and were routine.
·        Egg scam: 60 Colonels were pulled up when irregularities in purchase of
eggs came to light.
·        Tent scam: Inquiry and action into purchase of tents and other equipment
·        Refused resignation of Major General A.K. Lal, found guilty of sexual
harassment of a lady officer, and rendered appropriate action.
·        Took responsibility of an innocent civilian being killed by the army.
·        Gave a letter of displeasure to Lt. Gen S K Dahiya, for the frozen meat
·        Only Army commander to voice concern over the huge corruption in
the Army Commanders’ Conference.
Lt.-Gen. Panag ordered action into the tent purchase and equipment scam, besides the egg scam. The tent scam took place in the Command when the
current Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, was posted there from September
2005 till December 2006, after which Panag took over.
The Army said on Thursday that investigations and inquiries into the tent and
egg scams in the Northern Command had only revealed procedural aberrations.
Inquires into the irregularities had been completed, Army sources said, and
administrative action had been initiated against the defaulting personnel. The
cases had been investigated as per General Kapoor’s instructions that strict
standards of probity should be maintained, they said.
The sources clarified that investigations are conducted by courts whose members are assured of institutionalized legal and investigative independence.
Panag, however, is unhappy over the move. He is said to have met the Army
chief a fortnight back to make his displeasure known over being posted out.
He has also met defence minister A.K. Antony and sought redressal.
General Kapoor, on taking over as Army chief, had said that tackling corruption
was his biggest challenge. Sources said it was ironical that he was moving out the officer who is putting up a fight against corruption in the Northern Command
which extends from Siachen to Jammu. 
Lt.-Gen. P.C. Bharadwaj, commanding the Leh-based 14 Corps at present, is being considered by General Kapoor to head the Northern Command. It was during Lt.- Gen. Bharadwaj tenure that the Rs 5,000-crore ration scam took place. The scam was unearthed in August last year when ration meant for the Army personnel were found being sold in the open market.
Panag bypasses chief & complains to AK Antony
By Suman Sharma in New Delhi 
Mail Today January06, 2008 P-4

Lieutenant general H.S. Panag met defence minister A.K. Antony on Saturday and handed a four-page letter challenging his transfer from head of the Northern Command to the Central Command. In the process, Panag bypassed the authority of his chief, General Deepak Kapoor.

Panag, who had met Kapoor, chief of army staff, a few weeks ago on receiving his posting orders, has taken the stand that the transfer will reflect on his career. Some of the salient points of the letter handed over to Antony are available exclusively with Mail Today.

In the letter, Panag has stated:
·        This posting from an ­operational command to a non-operational command, without being assigned a ­reason, will cast aspersions on his military career.
·        He had met the chief, who had not assigned any reason and had said that he was not answerable to any officer for his posting. 
·        He had made sincere efforts in the Northern Command area to improve the situation and to bring normalcy in the security scenario so that elections could be conducted in a peaceful manner in Jammu and Kashmir.
·        During his tenure there was visible improvement in the state as infiltration attempts had been successfully foiled. 

Panag’s transfer seems to have come about after he apparently earned the ­displeasure of the army top brass for his tough stand against corruption. An officer known for his honesty and ­no-nonsense attitude, Panag has been actively inquiring into corruption cases that have come to light in the Northern Command since he took over in January 2007 from Kapoor.

These include a Rs 2-crore tent scam that took place during Kapoor’s tenure. The Rs 5,000-crore ration scam, which saw rations meant for army personnel being sold in the open civilian market, took place under lieutenant general P.C. Bhardwaj, commanding the Leh-based 14 Corps. Bhardwaj is now being considered by Kapoor to head the Northern Command. Panag’s stance in these and other such cases (see box) is believed to be responsible for the posting.

Antony told Mail Today, “It is my job to meet people if they want to meet me about an issue. Since an appointment was taken, I met the officer. As for the rest, whatever decision is to be taken will be decided later.” 

Defence ministry insiders said that in all likelihood Panag would go to Lucknow as the ministry does not want to challenge the authority of the chief, and open doors for more such cases in the future.

Antony is believed to have asked Panag to maintain restraint, and requested him not to bring up such matters in the public domain. Panag was reportedly told that the transfer was routine and the ministry was well aware of his capabilities. Panag is also believed to have been told that the good work he initiated, including the drive against corruption, would continue after his transfer from the command.

The letter is likely to be sent to Kapoor for his comments. This is the first time that a senior officer has written a letter to the defence minister without routing it through proper channels. 

Normally a statutory complaint reaches the minister only after being routed through the immediate senior, in this case the chief of army staff, with his comments. Since Panag's representation has not followed this channel, it is likely to go back to the chief's office for comments. 

A Judge Advocate General branch officer said, “Such a meeting with the minister, bypassing the chief, will set a wrong precedence if Panag is given relief by the defence ministry, because every officer will then want the same.” 

Also the Army Act, 1950, says, “As part of service, an officer/personnel is under ­liability to serve anywhere in India or abroad, wherever he is posted.”
Reason for his transfer?
Air marshalbags job while in uniform
Mail Today January01, 2008 P-1 & 4
·        Sought go-ahead to work for GMR while still in service 
·        Possible conflict of interest in sanctioning land for Delhi airport
By Suman Sharma in New Delhi

One of India’s senior-most Air Force officers has been cleared by the Indian Air Force for a lucrative job with a private company that has benefitted from a decision he took five months before retirement, raising questions of propriety. 
Air Marshal P.S. Ahluwalia, heading the Delhi-based Western Air Command (WAC), has been cleared by Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major for a Rs 30 lakh per annum job with the GMR Group, currently modernising the Delhi airport. The file is now with the defence minister. Ahluwalia retired on Monday.
because Ahluwalia played a key role in permitting the reallocation of six acres of land under the WAC for GMR’s modernisation plans. 

The demand for this land came from GMR, which is partnering Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide for modernising and managing Delhi airport. 

GMR’s request for the six acres went to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) five months ago. The AAI sent the request to the Air Headquarters, which in turn asked the WAC for operational clearance. Ahluwalia, as head of the WAC, cleared the request. The IAF did get another six acres in lieu of the land that it gave to GMR.

What has raised eyebrows isn’t Ahluwalia’s clearance of the land to GMR but the job offer, and his request for permission, from GMR. Questions are also being raised about why the Air Marshal applied for ‘no objection’ while still in service. Such requests are usually made after retirement. 

Former Air Chief Marshal S.K. Krishnaswamy told Mail Today, “A service officer joining a foreign government organisation, or any organisation that his service has dealings with, is objectionable.” 

The central government’s administrative rules state that a government official cannot join a commercial organisation for two years after retirement without permission from the government. 

There should also be no conflict of interest. In particular, no contract should be pending between the government and the private company that the official wants to join. 

When contacted, Ahluwalia told Mail Today, “I have indeed applied for permission to take up a job as group advisor to GMR and I have other offers as well. This has been cleared by the Air Chief and is pending with the MoD. I am following the proper procedure and this takes time. Other officers don’t even take permission. This offer has been made based on my experience.

“In fact, GMR has no direct dealing with the IAF, it deals with the AAI. It is not WAC or IAF but AAI and the Civil Aviation ministry which are responsible. This is MoD land and it is for them to decide who they give it to. But it is true that clearance by the affected field formation, in this case the Western Air Command, was a must.” 

Arun Arora, AVM Corporate Communications of the GMR Group said, “The referred land falls within the footprint of the new domestic terminal under construction —existing occupants are being relocated. The IAF block was one such structure. The AAI has provided alternative land to the IAF in lieu of the land it released for the new domestic terminal’’

Regarding Ahluwalia's appointment, Arora said no offer had been made from the Delhi office. However, he was unable to obtain details of any such move from the Bangalore head office. 

Additional Principal Information Officer of the Ministry of Defence Sitanshu Kar, who was never contacted about the story, called up Mail Today, wanting to know whether any story relating to airports was being attempted by this newspaper. 
·        As head of the IAF’s western air command, Ahluwalia commanded the largest and operationally the most sensitive command that ranges from Siachen to Bikaner. Essentially a Mirage-2000 pilot, Ahluwalia who has logged around 4,000 flight hours. Ahluwalia played an important role in the Kargil conflict in 1999.
·        The GMR Group is part of a consortium that includes the European Fraport AG, Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide and the India Development Fund. The consortium is modernising the Delhi Airport.