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Tribune Special
Generals in disgrace leave ASC headless
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
For the past few months, the Army’s supply and transport branch has been headless. With top Generals from the Army Service Corps (ASC) being embroiled in graft charges, the Army is unable to find a Lieutenant-General to fill the post of Director-General Supplies and Transport (DGST) at the Army Headquarters.

The post of DGST fell vacant after a court of inquiry (CoI) indicted the then incumbent, Lt-Gen S.K. Sahni, in July, along with a Major-General and other officers, for lapses in the procurement of dry rations for troops. He was thereafter removed from the post and “attached” to Headquarters 2 Corps for disciplinary proceedings.

The government did not appoint the next senior-most officer, Lt- Gen S.K. Dahiya, posted as the Commandant of the ASC Centre, Bangalore, as the DGST. He has been blamed by a CoI for certain irregularities in the operation of a contract for the supply of frozen meat to formations deployed in Ladakh sector.

At present, Major-Gen D.K. Dutta is officiating as the DGST, but according to sources, he still has some time to go before he becomes eligible to be considered for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant-General.

Sources in the Army Headquarters reveal that the Army is considering appointing a Lieutenant-General from another arms or service as the DGST to tide over the crisis.

The DGST is responsible for the administration and functioning of the ASC. It is responsible for the procurement and distribution of supplies like rations, edible items, petroleum, oil and coal and provision of motor as well as animal transport to formations. Earlier this month, it had observed its 246th anniversary.

Both General Sahni, who retired on September 30, and General Dahiya have moved the Delhi High Court for the redressal of grievances.

The High Court has stayed the proceedings against General Sahni till further orders. He had contended that the Army had not followed the correct procedure while initiating action against him. Incidentally, he had moved court thrice before to get promoted to the ranks of Brigadier, Major-General and Lieutenant-General.

The Army had constituted two separate courts of inquiry to look into alleged lapses in the procurement of dry rations and frozen meat. The findings were made public earlier this year.

In the ration case, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Chandimandir, had directed disciplinary action, which entails possible trial by court martial, against General Sahni, Brig S.K. Handa, Brig P.S. Gill and three other officers and administrative action against Major-Gen B.P.S. Mander and three other officers.

In the meat case, Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Command, Lucknow, had ordered disciplinary action against General Dahiya and administrative action against 10 other officers.



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