Monday, March 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Army court summons Gen Murgai

New Delhi, March 25
The Army court of inquiry has summoned retired Major-Gen S.P. Murgai, a key figure in the expose by on defence deals, to appear before it next week, Army sources said.

Maj-General Murgai, who retired recently as Additional Director-General, Quality Assurance, Army Headquarters, has reportedly been missing since the expose.

He was used by the Tehelka sting team to gain access to key officers dealing with armament procurement at Army Headquarters. He also accompanied the team to a meeting with former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitley at former Defence Minister George Fernandesí house.

The three-man court of inquiry headed by Lt-General S. K. Jain has issued summons to General Murgai, which was served to his wife at their Vasant Vihar residence, the Army sources said.

General Murgai has been reportedly missing since Friday last (March 16) when the Tehelka team uncovered its expose on bribe-taking in defence deals.

Though the court of inquiry has no power to issue summons to civilians, it has, under the Army Act asked even retired Army personnel to appear before it to depose under oath, sources said.

The deposition of General Murgai would be crucial in the case, the sources said, adding that they were confident that the officer would voluntarily appear before the court.

The court after studying the Tehelka tapes and collecting detailed defence statements of the suspended Additional Director-General, Weapons and Equipment, Maj-Gen P.S.K. Choudhary and four other senior officers, has also completed interrogating the Tehelka sting duo of Anirudh Pahal and Samuel Matthews.

It has also allowed five Army officers, besides General Choudhary, Maj- Gen Ahluwalia, Maj-Gen Satnam Singh, Brig Iqbal Singh and Col Anil Sehgal to cross-examine Pahal and Matthews as stipulated under the Army rules.

Meanwhile, the parallel one-man Defence Ministry fact-finding inquiry, after completing its perusal of the Tehelka tapes, has asked four ministry officials, including Additional Secretary L.M. Mehta, staff officers to the ordnance factory board H.C. Pant, Assistant Financial Adviser Narendra Singh and Office Assistant P. Sasi to file details before it.

The inquiry held by R.P. Bagai, Chief Vigilance Officer, has been asked to submit its report to Defence Minister Jaswant Singh within a month. PTIBack

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