M A I N   N E W S

From jawan to Gentleman Cadet and back
Alok Kumar, a cadet undergoing training at IMA, was shunted out for theft
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, December 12
He is no longer a ‘Gentleman Cadet’. He would possibly never become an officer either because weeks before the ‘passing-out parade’ last year, the Indian Military Academy threw out Alok Kumar, reverted him to an Army unit as a jawan and imposed a fine of Rs 11, 59,500, the amount spent on his training at the academy. The ‘fine’ is to be recovered from his salary over the next 12 to 15 years, which means he would virtually remain without salary.

Curiously, Major Amit Dagar, the IMA spokesman, failed to recall the case, when contacted, and shrugged it off by saying that there are far too many cases of such indiscipline. Alok Kumar’s is a strange case because the young man apparently joined the Army as a jawan. He worked his way through and cleared tests and examinations before he was found fit enough for the IMA. This month he would have walked out of the academy with a permanent commission as an officer.

But whatever could have prompted this ‘young achiever’ to steal? According to reports trickling in, he had taken out a sum of Rs 80,000 in all from the account of a fellow cadet. His lawyer claims that Alok Kumar did it in desperation because he needed the money urgently for the medical treatment of his mother.The lawyer, who has challenged the disciplinary action taken by IMA, also claims that the cadet had admitted his ‘mistake’ and returned the money. Under the circumstances, he pleads, the punishment is too harsh.

Several officers within the Indian Army, argues Major K Ramesh, the lawyer, have got away with far less rigorous punishment for worse, and bigger, mistakes. As a sepoy, Alok would never be able to repay the fine even if he forgoes his entire salary for the next ten years.Alok completed military training at Army Cadet College from January 6, 2006, to December 6, 2008, followed by advanced military training at the IMA from January 14, 2009, and was to pass out on December 12, 2009, and become a permanent commissioned Army officer.

His pleas for less harsh punishment and relegation for six more months or a year were dismissed. The IMA also did not consider the mitigating factors like admission of guilt and return of the sum ‘stolen’. His last resort, an appeal, pleads that there exists a system of relegating the GC by six months, which is resorted to for first time offenders.

In case the offence is repeated or other complaints surface, the cadets are withdrawn permanently. “In case of a court martial of a Brigadier for misappropriation, has the
court ever imposed such punishment? The Section 71 of the Army Act, 1950, clearly forbids this type of fiscal imposition,” claims Ramesh.





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