Shillong, July 15 (IANS): An army court today stuck to its earlier finding and pronounced that former 33 Corps commander Lt Gen PK Rath was not guilty of the charge of intent to defraud the Army in the Sukna land scam in West Bengal.
Rath broke down as the reassembled General Court Martial (GCM) upheld its earlier finding that he was not guilty of the charge.
"The court attentively considered the observation of confirming authority, and after having perused the evidence on records and the whole proceedings of court martial... (its members) do now respectfully adhere to the first charge," Lt Gen IJ Singh, the presiding officer of court martial, announced in the judgment here.
The confirming authority in the case is the Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen Bikram Singh, before whom the verdict of the GCM will be placed. He had June 17 asked the GCM to review its finding that Rath was not guilty of the charge of intent to defraud the Army. He was, however, held guilty on two other charges.
"The court has not agreed with the observations made in the revision order and they (general court martial) have found no factual or legal error in the finding of not guilty given earlier in respect of the first charge (intent to defraud) and, therefore, adhered to the earlier findings," Rath's counsel S.S.Pandey told IANS.
Rath, the first serving three-star officer to be convicted of wrongdoing, has been charged with incorrectly issuing a no-objection certificate to a private realtor to construct an educational institution on a 70-acre plot adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal's Darjeeling district.