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Do not cast aspersions on Army

Inder Malhotra’s article “A sad chapter in Army’s history” (Feb 5) has rightly pointed out that General Deepak Kapoor mishandled the land scam case. The defence forces and the Army brass in particular have to put their organisations in order instead of rationalising the increasing cases of omissions. The entire affair reeks of unprecedented over-ambitiousness in the Army.

The desire to be in a high position is universal. But this trait always co-evolved with another human skill, the skill to make the best of lower positions in the organisation. This is unfortunately not the case with the defence forces brass now. The result of this rat race is that all services personnel continue to suffer from status anxiety even after their retirement. It explains the periodic and planned leaks to the media about the details of 
investigations into the so-called “Sukna scam”.

The other glaring lacuna is that the Army Chief and his secretariat failed to feed the correct position of the case and put to rest the misconstrued deductions made by the media. In the current era of information technology, there is a need to correctly satiate the information need of the media, intelligentsia and the commoner. This weakness in public relations must be rectified immediately. 

Col K D PATHAK, (retd),  Chandigarh


Quite unlike his widely respected journalistic style, Mr Inder Malhotra has, with reference to the handling of Sukna scam, made sweeping statements that have no legal sanctity.

One wonders how he assumed that most Army officers agree “that the Antony directive was necessary and timely”. Was a poll carried out to which he had access? He says that the officer was given leave to avoid his being present at the Army Day and Republic Day parades. Could it have been a fair precaution by General Deepak Kapoor to circumvent any effort to influence the case?

Mr Malhotra incorrectly maintains that the officer is to face a court martial. Not so. All that has happened is that a Summary of Evidence is to be recorded. Careful scrutiny of this document will lead the Army’s legal branch to advise the Chief whether to try the officer by a General Court Martial, set the case aside or explore other legal disciplinary options. To pre-judge the case and cast unverified aspersions on the military is not expected from a respected journalist.

Maj-Gen RAJ MEHTA, (retd), SAS Nagar

Education must get top priority

Knowledge itself is power (editorial, “Knowledge power”, Feb 3). Knowledge has become a buzzword in business, education and other areas of life. Sadly, even after six decades of Independence, we have not been able to set our education system right. After every decade or two, there is a change in the education policy. 

Projects like Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan are a total failure. Education should be given top priority in the budget allocation next only to defence and health.

The editorial has rightly pointed out that instead of producing unemployable graduates — engineers or otherwise — we should focus on job-oriented courses. Our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru used to say that we should de-link degrees from jobs and produce more skilled workers who are in actual demand in the market. To cope with the global standards of education, we must upgrade the required infrastructure.

HARISH K MONGA, Ferozepur City


With due apology to the learned author of great stature, labelling Sukna as a scam has in the first place been “A sad chapter in Army’s history” and has brought much anguish among those who had been part of the services. Here only an NOC was issued which was cancelled later on. No land has been sold, no loss to the state has occurred and apparently no one has got even a paisa.

However, in Bhopal they are still counting crores tumbling out of the closet and it will not become a scam? When top generals are put in the dock virtually on a non-issue, with visible pressure from the top making the fairness of the military judicial system suspect, reverberations are bound to be felt down to the bottom.

The best course should be to sideline all those who blew Sukna out of proportion to settle personal scores and brought ignominy to the armed forces. Perhaps, a younger Chief who can knit the badly divided team under a new dynamic leadership in the ministry can heal the self-inflicted wounds. We need to look beyond Sukna to fight on many fronts.

Air-Cmde RAGHUBIR SINGH, (retd), Pune



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