More than quarter century after it was found that Indian troops which were part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka were served with poor quality tinned food purchased in violation of army protocol, a CBI court in India has sentenced a major-general and a major, both now retired, to two-year jail term, the Times of India reported.
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 Margoa-based company for supply of tinned fish, fruits and meat despite sufficient stock of the supply being available with the army for consumption by 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 each, besides a fine of Rs 1,000. As for the charge of conspiracy, they were sentenced to undergo six month imprisonment. The Margoa-based copany, M/s Costa & Company, which supplied the tinned meat kheema, was imposed a fine of Rs 30,000. It was CBI’s case that while Gupta was functioning as major-general of Army Supply Corps (ASC), southern commandant, and Kadian was officer commanding at supply depot at Margoa in 1987-88, they had placed orders for supply of tinned kheema. Without the material being supplied false invoices were created by them. Even though the army had sufficient stock of meat tinned kheema for its troops in Sri Lanka, they issued purchase orders to purchase whatever quantity and quality was available with the company.
In March 1988, though the Bombay depot required only 3 metric ton of tinned kheema, Gupta sent an additional quantity of 5 MTs. There was also a mismatch between the dispatch, invoices and the delivery at the depots.
The CBI said the officials had abused their official positions and placed excessive orders of poor quality food materials despite knowing that the army had sufficient stock of tinned meat for IPKF personnel in Sri Lanka. Their supply continued even after the army headquarters issued instructions to stop all local purchase.