In the first case of a general- level officer getting a jail term, Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sahni was on Friday sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment and cashiered from service after being found guilty of irregularities in procurement of rations for troops in Jammu and Kashmir.
A General Court Martial in Jalandhar found 65-year-old Sahni of the Army Service Corps guilty of procuring sub-standard meat and other dry rations for troops deployed on the Siachen mountains and other high altitude areas in 2005, army sources said on Friday night.
The GCM headed by Lt Gen Jatinder Pal Singh held Sahni, who was then the director general of supplies and transport, guilty under six of the nine charges framed against him in what is known as the rations scam in the army.
Singh retired in 2006. The GCM concluded late this on Friday evening.
Sahni, who is under arrest for the last seven months since the GCM commenced, was also divested of the medals and stars. His plea for bail was rejected.
Cashiering from service would entail the withdrawal of all perks he enjoys as a retired officer of the Indian army, including pension.
A Court of Inquiry constituted in 2005 had recommended disciplinary action against Sahni after indicting him in the case.
Among the charges for which Sahni was convicted was the intent to defraud in the procurement of rations. A report by the Controller of Auditor General had paved way for action against Sahni.
The report revealed that soldiers were supplied wheat, rice, pulses and edible oil past their expiry date. The auditor has also found a serious lack of competition in filing of tenders for the purchase of ration.
In fact, it points out that a single vendor bagged contracts for more than 36 per cent of the purchases. It also said that about-to-expire food items were bought at cheaper rates by contractors and then supplied to army units.
On July 10, 2010, the summary of evidence was completed; giving recommendations to continue disciplinary action against General Sahni and orders for general court martial were issued. In this regard, a Court of Inquiry which was constituted in 2005 had recommended disciplinary action against him in connection with the case.
After his retirement from army in 2006, the inquiry was initiated.