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Saturday, June 1, 2013

2 sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for supplying poor quality food to IPKF

Thiruvalluvar has these words extolling the valour of the soldier…



If the death of a hero were to fill the rulers with tears in their eyes, such a death deserves to be obtained even by begging… you can safely replace ruler with the subjects and say, if people mourn tearfully the death of a soldier, then such valour is utmost praiseworthy……….

Do you know or remember – Operation Poomalai or Operation Pawan ?   Today, there are reports that Special judge for CBI cases Paramaraj found major general (retd) A K Gupta and major (retd) S S Kadian guilty.. ….. the judge then sentenced both Gupta and Kadian to undergo imprisonment for two years, besides imposing a fine of 1,000. They were also given a concurrent jail term of six months for conspiring to commit the crime ~ yes for a crime committed 25 years ago ! -  still…. Can anyone think of betraying our own armed forces – of the Jawans who voluntarily come forward to do the supreme sacrifice of life to save the Nation… giving their tomorrows to ensure that our today is safe… Every Nation must honour its soldiers, respect them and do everything to ensure that they are held in high esteem.

The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka can be traced to the independence of the island in 1948 from Britain. From plantation labourers settlement, trouble has been brewing for too long.   A major violence flared up in 1983 with the killing of tamil militants in jail.   Welikade prison.  Riots followed and the Sinhalese government stepped up its campaign against the insurgency, and the Sri Lankan army in 1987 laid siege to the town of Jaffna, an LTTE stronghold, as part of its campaign against the Tamil bases. This resulted in large-scale civilian casualties and created a condition of humanitarian crisis.  India asked the  Sri Lankan government to halt the offensive in an attempt to negotiate a political settlement.

Failing to negotiate an end to the crisis with Sri Lanka, India tried to send a convoy of unarmed ships to northern Sri Lanka to provide humanitarian assistance, which was intercepted by the Sri Lankan Navy and turned back. Following the failure,  Indian Government decided  to carry out an airdrop of the humanitarian supplies, designated Operation Poomalai. 

A strong military congingent was formed to perform peace keeping operations – designated as Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF); it was formed under the mandate of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord signed between India and Sri Lanka in 1987 that aimed to end the Sri Lankan Civil War between  militants and the military. The main task of the IPKF was to disarm the different militant groups.  Though no combat was foreseen at that time, sadly  IPKF became embroiled in battle with the LTTE to enforce peace.  After 2 years IPKF was withdrawn with the change in Govt here.

Now the news is that more than 25 years 2 people have been convicted for providing poor quality tinned food to the IPKF;  purchased in violation of army protocol, a CBI court has sentenced a major-general and a major, both now retired, to two years in jail.     Special judge for CBI cases Paramaraj found major general (retd) A K Gupta and major (retd) S S Kadian guilty of placing orders with a Margao-based company for supply of tinned fish, fruits and meat, despite sufficient stock being available with the army for consumption by the troops camping in Sri Lanka. Charging them with fraud and dishonesty, the court said the two officers had “intentionally violated the mandatory order and local purchase rules with an intention to defraud the government and committed a criminal misconduct, thereby causing wrongful loss to the government.”  The judge then sentenced both Gupta and Kadian to undergo imprisonment for two years, besides imposing a fine of 1,000. They were also given a concurrent jail term of six months for conspiring to commit the crime. The Margao-based company, M/s Costa & Company, which supplied the tinned meat, was imposed a fine of 30,000.

The CBI told the court that while Gupta was functioning as the major general of Army Supply Corps (ASC), southern command, and Kadian was officer commanding at the supply depot at Margao in 1987-88, they had placed orders for supply of tinned kheema.    They also created invoices without corresponding purchases. The CBI noted that the officers issued purchase orders for tinned kheema despite sufficient stock being available with the army. A K Gupta and S S Kadian placed orders with a Margao-based company for supply of tinned fish, fruits and meat.  While the requirement was only 3 metric tonnes of tinned kheema, they procured an additional quantity of 5 metric tones.

The court said the two officers had intentionally violated the mandatory order and local purchase rule Former officers ignored order to stop supply and now are facing penalty and imprisonment. 

Operation Pawan was the codename assigned to the operation by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to take control of Jaffna from the LTTE  in late 1987 to enforce the disarmament. Operation Poomalai or Eagle Mission 4 was the codename assigned to a mission undertaken by the Indian Air Force to air-drop supplies over the besieged town of Jaffna in Sri Lanka on 4 June 1987 in support of Tamil Tigers during the Sri Lankan Civil War.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

30th May 2013.

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