Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is Lt Col Purohit going to be dismissed?

I was not intending to make two posts in one day but some developments, of which i have learnt just now, force me to do so. As has been reported in all news channels (the newspapers have not paid much attention to it) Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, the Military Intelligence officer linked with Malegaon blasts, is now facing a Court of Inquiry. Well that is not true in the strict sense. The Army has not been given permission by the court to examine Lt Col Purohit. Given the fact that the inquiry is being held against him, it does not make sense to go ahead without the person facing the inquiry.
The grapevine has it that the Army top brass has made up its mind to dismiss Lt Col Purohit from service under the relevant rules. While there is no doubt that the officer has severely embarassed the service by way of his affiliations and political and ideological leanings, but he still remains innocent till proven guilty. It would be patently unfair if the Army chooses to dismiss him at this stage without affording him a chance to explain his stand or prove his innocence. Interestingly it is also being said that the 17 points of reference under which the inquiry is being conducted by the GOC 6 Mountain Div have nothing to do with the allegations against the officer in the court of law. They all relate to flaws in procedure and irregularities in his official duties which put him in contact with the undesirable elements.
There are eno9ugh examples of miscarriages of justice in the courts of law but the Army has to stand above all that. Let's hope the inquiry does not turn out to be witch-hunt which may hurt the image of the Army as a fair organisation.

What's the big deal about the deal?

Oh, the discussions, arguements and counter arguements that are being put forward on the MRSAM deal with Israel. Defence journalists, like those on any other beat are a divided lot but many are unanimous in the view that the news reported by DNA is old news. It may be or it may not, this blog will not take a definitive line on that, as it is outside the scope of this blog, but the deal itself is an important development. And the timing of the deal is very curious too. So the crux of the matter, as Josy Joseph, the author of the series of the articles in DNA, would surely agree, is whether Rs 600 crores have been paid a 'business charges' or not. But strangely this aspect is not being raised in the public fora. Political parties, which in normal course of action, are quick to take-up issues which may be crucial in the run-up to polls, have remained silent on the deal and the alleged pay-off. What could be the reason for this? Why have ther not reacted to the stories which have appeared in DNA and its sister publication, Dainik Bhasker? Is the main opposition party, BJP, too preoccupied with the Varun Gandhi issue and containing the fall out of the Gujarat minister resigning following cancellation of bail by the High Court? Whatever the reason may be, the UPA government must be heaving a sigh of relief that not much muck has been raked regarding the deal. But will it remain so through the election process. As far as I can see it, there will be definitely some attempt by the opposition parties to gain milege from the controversy highlighted by DNA. Some right-leaning journalists are already rubbing their hands in glee in anticipation.