The year that witnessed CBI raid at NDA

As the year ends, Newsline recaptures events of 2012 that are likely to leave an indelible mark on city

The CBI raid at the National Defence Academy (NDA) was arguably the biggest development in the defence sector that rocked the city. In June, the CBI held Col Kulbir Singh, staff officer of the then NDA commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh along with Col A K Singh, a physical training officer (PTO), establishment officer Suhas Waghmare, besides six others - Balkishan Kanojia, Vishnu Prasad Sharma, Ramesh Gaikwad, Manoj and Dattatray Shitkal for their alleged involvement in the recruitment of group C employees at the Academy.

For the first time ever, the commandant of the NDA was transferred by the Defence Minister to Army Headquarters in a bid to facilitate fair probe into the matter.

The Indian Express reported extensively on the matter wherein it was revealed that Colonel Kulbir Singh arrested for alleged bribery in recruitment of subordinate NDA staff, was on May 29 given an on-the-spot Chief of Army Staff (COAS) commendation by former Army Chief General V K Singh. While this commendation came during the former Army Chief's visit to the academy to review the Passing out Parade (PoP), right in the midst of May-June as mentioned by the CBI as the time when the alleged wrongdoing had taken place, he had also received the Army Commander's commendation in March-April. Singh was apparently posted to NDA in January 2011, the time when Lt Gen Jatinder Singh took over as NDA commandant, and belongs to the Guards, the same regiment as the General's.

Those allegedly involved were produced before the court and are currently out on bail. However the case is yet to come before the court for trial. On July 7, for the first time ever, NDA commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh was transferred to Army Headquarters to facilitate a fair probe. "We have received formal transfer orders for Lt Gen Singh and these orders are being complied with," a press release issued by the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Defence then said.

Lt Gen Jatinder Singh who assumed the office of the NDA commandant on January 1, 2011 was to retire in October-November. Prior to this, the charge was held by a Naval officer. As evident, it was the turn of the Air Force to hold the office of the Commandant after Lt Gen Singh's retirement. However, the NDA Commandant's early exit led to speculation whether the new Commandant would be an Air Force officer or an Army officer.

The Indian Express was the first one to report that Lt Gen Ashok Singh, then the Corps Commander of Army's prestigious Mathura-based 1 Corps, was likely to take over as the Commandant of the NDA in the first week of August. Singh who took over the office in August is probably the first officer to have taken over the office of the NDA commandant after having commanded the formation of the level of a corps.

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