The Officers of MNS will remember General Deepak Kapoor as the Chief, who believed in the down gradation of the Military Nursing Service to improve the image of Officer Cadres of the Army. The VI pay commission recommended the same pay and status to all officer cadres of the army including the MNS. The Gen Kapoor used his political clout and made the Government to lower the pay and status of MNS Cadre as compared to the rest of the officer cadres. He refused to accept the fact that MNS Officers are also commissioned officer; in all likelyhood acted on the behest of some AMC top brass. It is no secret that the Army Docs hold the key to 'Senior Officers promotions', due to their power of make or break with the mandatory 'Medical Fitness Certificate'. May be it was 'pay-back time' for Deepak Kapoor. Any how, his actions to mollify some AMC Doc did more damage to MNS than the former DGAFMS, Vice Admiral VK Singh's tantrums.
Now a little back ground of this nurse basher ‘gentleman officer’ ! Some of our senior officers have been proven to be involved in cases of moral turpitude, pouring tomato ketchup to claim fake encounters and transporting tankers filled with water instead of diesel or petrol. But the irregularities committed by this ‘gentleman officer’ came to light only after he became the Chief.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General report censured General Kapoor for making frivolous purchases like bush-cutters and grass cutting machines during his tenure as Northern command general officer in commanding in chief. When Lt Gen Panag succeed Gen Kapoor as the Northern Command Chief, he ordered an inquiry into purchase of tents, worth Rs 5 crore. These were for troops who, surprisingly, had already left the deployment position. Orders were cleared by Gen Deepak Kapoor. He had ruled out tendering and placed direct orders. There was no emergency either. “Panag smelt a rat and immediately ordered an inquiry. When Panag went on his cleansing mission, too many felt the heat. Finally Gen Kapoor shunted him out from Northern Command to the Lucknow-based Central Command. Thus has the Indian Army’s gurus managed to silence a whistle blower. Gen Kapoor’s message was clear; ‘do not try to fight corruption’!
In the recent Sukhna land scam, Gen Kapoor initially recommended administrative action against his close aide, Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash who retired from the service on January 31. Prakash was one of the eight principal staff officers (PSOs) at the Army Headquarters who acts as an advisor to the Army Chief. Earlier, in December 2009, the Eastern Army Command chief, Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, had recommended a summary dismissal for Prakash. It was reportedly learnt that General Kapoor went soft on Lt Gen Prakash as they shared many secrets. Gen Kapoor earlier stated that tough actions would be initiated against any wrongdoings in the Army. However, under severe pressure by the Defence Minister A K Antony, he made a volte-face and ordered Court Martial proceedings on 29 Jan 10 against Prakash. The old genaration Chiefs like Thimmaya or Sam Manekshaw would have resigned from the Army Chief’s post rather than reversing his own decision.
The Sukhna land scam report also recommended initiating proceedings against Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, whose appointment as deputy chief of army staff has been scrapped by the Defence Ministry. The proceedings of the Court Martial will also be initiated against Lt. Gen P K Rath, and Maj. Gen P C Sen, who were also allegedly indicted by the CoI report. According to top Defence Ministry Sources, “Army has been always forth coming in taking action against any wrong-doing in the services and Army Chief has recommended action against Generals implicated by Court of Inquiry.” But, the general percetion is that the Defence Ministry erred by elevating a tainted 'gentleman officer' to the post of Chief. I certainly agree; it was indeed done at a great cost to the Militray Nursing Service and to a less extent to the image of the Army.
Many of the 'scamster officers' will get away with minor punishments. But the collective effect of the punishment meted out to the around ten thousand serving and retired officers of MNS by Gen Kapoor; will be harsher than, any the Army Act can ever award. He cheat them of their hard earned pay and pension! I wonder, what was the ‘guna’ Gen Kapoor, alleged on the three thousand plus serving officers of the MNS, when he made the MoD to lower their pay and status ?
- Col Soumya Chaterjee (Retd)