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Rath’s family vows to ‘get justice’
Correspondent SHILLONG, JAN 23:
Published on 24 Jan. 2011 12:31 AM IST
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The family members of disgraced Lt Gen P.K Rath vowed to fight against the court martial verdict.
“As the family, we stand firmly behind Lt Gen PK Rath. He has served the nation. We have nothing to feel bad about it. We will definitely rest the till justice is done,” Rath’s brother, Pratap Kumar Rath said. On Saturday , the General Court Martial (GCM) against Rath, the first serving lieutenant general (Lt. Gen.) to be found guilty, recommended taking “off the rank and the precedence of appointment” with substantive effect from May 24, 2010. In effect, his promotion in 2008 may now be considered effective from 2010.
In his verdict, the GCM proceedings, headed by presiding officer Lt Gen I J Singh, recommended forfeiture of 15 years service of Rath for pensionary benefits besides severely reprimand him.
The GCM will hand over their verdict against Rath to the ministry of defence for its final confirmation. “Let us first see the verdict in detail and we will decide on it,” Rath’s counsel Major SS Pandey said when asked if he would challenge it in the Armed Forces Tribunal, the apex appellate authority of the armed forces in the country.
However, prosecution counsel Raghavendra Jha, said the punishment given by the court was “too lenient”.
“He (Lt. Gen Rath) should have been given exemplary punishment considering that the court found him guilty on three charges. He could have been dismissed after he was found guilty of moral turpitude,” Jha said Sunday.
“As per the Army Act, Rath’s punishment should have been severe considering his service condition and his status as a Corps Commander,” he said
Anyway, he said, “since the verdict is yet to be confirm, there is a possibility that the court may be asked to review its decision or if they (Rath) approach the AFT (Armed Forces Tribunal), the AFT may enhance its punishment if the evidences are on the record.
On Oct 20 last, the AFT had rejected Rath’s plea seeking the quashing of charges levelled against him in the Sukna land scam.
The eight month long court martial convened inside 58 Gorkha Training Centre in Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, found Rath guilty on three counts but four other charges against him were dropped.
Rath was found guilty for facilitating deal with a realtor, Dilip Agarwal Geetanjali Educational Trust to build an educational institute on a 70-acre plot adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal.
The other two charges, which Rath was culpable include: issuing a no-objection certificate and illegally signing a memorandum of understanding with the Educational Trust by not informing the General Officer in Command of Eastern Command.
The GCM however dropped the four other charges against Rath.
Infact, Rath (Saturday) pleaded to the GCM to reduce the quantum of punishment. He said the proposed educational institute was aimed at to benefit the posterity.
“I wanted to benefit the posterity and the larger interest of the organization (army). Me and my family had suffered for the last one and half years, facing humiliation and harassment for a matter that was not of no personal gain to me,” Rath said.
He, however, expressed his gratitude to the GCM for dropping the defraud charges. “This has removed the stigma which has been haunting me ever since the charge sheet was filed,” Rath said in his plea before GCM announcing its landmark verdict against a sitting army official.

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