|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
September 18, 2000
Brig Surinder Singh likely to challenge showcause notice
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
The stink of Kargil simply refuses to leave.
In the latest development, the army has served a showcause notice on Brigadier Surinder Singh asking why punitive action should not be taken against him. On his part, Brigadier Singh is expected to go to court questioning the army decision.
Sources in army headquarters confirmed that a showcause notice had indeed been served on Brigadier Singh, who was relieved of the charge of 121 Brigade at Kargil when the Pakistani intrusions were detected last year. "The showcause has been served after following all necessary procedures. He is supposed to file his reply by September 22," confirmed senior officials.
According to reports that appeared on Monday morning, the showcause notice asks Brigadier Singh, who is at present the deputy General Officer Commanding of the Ranchi-based 25 Division, to explain why he should not be dismissed from service under the Army Act.
With this move, the bitter fight between the recalcitrant officer and his organisation continues. Singh is expected to move the court regarding the notice.
He had approached the Punjab and Haryana high court when he was transferred to different divisions across the country and a court of inquiry was instituted against him. The judge had then told him that he could approach the court if the army harasses him.
Reacting to the latest notice, sources close to him said, "Naturally, he will approach the court."
There are conflicting versions about the exact wording of the showcause notice, with some officers insisting that it talks only about 'punitive action' and not dismissal.
Some officials say Northern Command, and not Army Headquarters, has issued the show cause. Only for officers of the rank of Major General and above will Army Headquarters issue such notices, they explained.
The showcause notice, apparently, mentions four counts of omission and commission by the former Kargil commander against whom the army has conducted at least two courts of inquiry and an investigation (by Lt Gen A R K Reddy, formerly the chief of staff, Northern Command).
Lt Gen Reddy had submitted to the Northern Command that the Brigadier did not conduct himself professionally. His report had pointed out that the commander did not realise the seriousness of the Kargil intrusions and had initially mislead his senior commanders of the ground situation. He was also found guilty of not carrying out effective patrolling along the crucial Line of Control in Kargil sector.
The courts of inquiry investigated the charges of leaking India's military secrets and information regarding the vacating of Bajrang Post in Kaksar in March 1999 to the media.
The first court of inquiry investigated the leaking of confidential papers to the media, especially to Outlook, a weekly magazine. A notice was issued to the magazine's editor and its correspondent asking them to present themselves before the Leh-based army inquiry, but they refused.
Though both the courts of inquiry completed their investigation, the reports have never been made public.
It is not just Brigadier Singh who is at loggerheads with the army over Kargil. The army had also moved out and instituted an inquiry against Colonel Pushpinder Oberoi, Commanding Officer of 16 Grenadiers. Col Oberoi, too, had moved court.
Oberoi's petition, being handled by senior criminal advocate R K Anand, is pending before the Delhi high court.
There are inquiries going on against about 13 junior officers and other soldiers. However, the army would not be taking any serious action against them. The proceedings against them are not likely to go beyond punishments like a verbal rebuke etc, sources said.
The junior level officers are accused of various omissions during the intrusions, especially of not facing up to the enemy and shying away from Pakistani intruders. The inquiries are going on at Leh.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK