Is the Army Land Scam issue Motivated?

Seventy acres of land and an alleged issuance of a no-objection certificate has landed some of India’s top generals in a soup.
The land in question is a 70-acre plot close to the Sukna military station in West Bengal.

The allegation is that Military Secretary Avadhesh Prakash, Lieutenant General Ramesh Halgali, Lieutenant General P K Rath and Major General P K Sen facilitated the issuance of a no objection certificate to the Agarwal Geetanjali Education Trust in order to set up an affiliate of Ajmer’s wellknown school, Mayo College.

While Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor says that action will be initiated in the case, members of General Rath’s family believe the issue is engineered.

Prathap Kumar Rath, General Rath’s brother, who is obviously upset with the developments, provides his version of events to’s Vicky Nanjappa:

“Both Lieutenant General V K Singh (the Eastern Army commander) and General Deepak Kapoor are well aware of what has happened. Why isn’t the media looking into this and letting this drama continue?

“There is talk about a report on this issue. Why has this report not been made available to my brother? A reporter on television waves this report at his viewers. When he can have that report, why can’t they give a copy to my brother? I want to ask how this report has come out of the Eastern Command Headquarters? Doesn’t it look as though it is stage-managed?

“There is a mass hysteria being created on this issue so that Lieutenant General Singh and General Kapoor are made to look good.

“They speak about national security. If the security of the nation was such a prime concern for these people, then let me tell you that the land was sold in April. Then how come the issue was brought up in September? If it was such a primary concern, why this delay?

“The timing was perfect. The issue cropped up when my brother got his appointment (as deputy chief of the army). Another thing that I would like to point out here is that there was no communication on this issue sent to the 33 Corps. When that is the scenario, how can they even speak of national security? Moreover this is a school, how can it pose a security risk?

“I don’t know what Lieutenant General Singh has against my brother and why he is picking on him. I wish I had the opportunity to have a one on one with him and get things sorted out. He speaks of military discipline. Let everyone remember that the army is not above the Constitution.

“We will go all out in our fight and we will not buckle down to the order of the court of inquiry. This is not a full court in the first place. Moreover, we do not trust the findings since it is headed by two major generals. Obviously these people would report to their superiors and what justice can we expect?

“My brother is a disciplined officer and this has gone against him. I don’t know exactly why they are targeting him. I am unaware of any personal enmity too.

“However I must warn that I am ready to bite the bullet to get justice for my brother and I also want to say that no information regarding this case has been made available to us fully. I have a right to know what is happening.

“Lieutenant General Singh may become army chief and no one in the army is ready to counter him and hence my brother will suffer in the bargain.

“We, however, have a legal course worked out. The moment we are served with a notice, we will move the civil courts and also take this matter right up to the Supreme Court. It is these courts that we trust in.

“I really don’t know what sort of a game is being played over here. I can only say that my brother is just a casualty. He has been made to suffer since he is a good officer. I only want to assure him that he is not alone and has 11 siblings who will fight tooth and nail for him.”


Girish Kasarvalli pays tribute to Vishnuvardhan

Today, Karnataka has lost one of its greatest actors. The death of the Sahasasimha Dr Vishnuvardhan has left a vaccum in the film industry and many say that this space can never be filled up.

Renowned director Girish Kasarvalli pays a fitting tribute to the superstar and takes us through his thoughts of Dr Vishnuvardhan, originally known as Sampath Kumar.

The Kannada industry has seen many stars. What made Dr Vishnuvardhan unique was his style of acting.

He was effortless when it came to acting. I would say that he is one of the most sensitive actors the industry has ever produced. The manner in which he approached every role was simply amazing. There was a sensitivity that was involved in the manner in which he handled roles given to him and this was one of the primary reasons why he stood above the rest.

Vishnuvardhan had the courage to attempt a lot of roles. He handled the roles with such ease. Look at the manner in which he played an angry young man in Naagarahavu.

Although he was largely accepted at that time as an angry young man, he did not stagnate. Instead, he attempted various other roles and played them with such ease that they were also successful.

I would like to mention two films here, Muthina Haara and Bandhana. The characters played by him in these movies gave his career a new dimension. His role as an army officer in Muthina Haara is worth a mention since it has several shades.

His performance in Bandhana was path-breaking too. He plays a romantic hero and has handled it with such ease. I feel that these are two very important movies in his career, which propelled him to superstardom.

Younger film actors can learn a lot from Dr Vishnuvardhan. Besides his acting skills, I would tell youngsters to follow the way he delivers his dialogues. I feel he had the best dialogue delivery in the industry. The power and ease with which he delivered his dialogues is something that every young and aspiring actor can learn from.

As a human being, Vishnuvardhan was an extremely decent man, who never turned down anyone who needed help. He had many friends in the industry and all of them swear by him till date. That is quite a rare trait for a big star.

The loss is unbearable and terrible. It is impossible for us to reconcile this loss. All I would like to say that he is one of the most popular actors and a noble human being who will be missed by all of us.

‘Sahasasimha’ Vishnuvardhan passes away

Leading Kannada film actor Dr Vishnuvardhan passed away at Mysore in the wee hours of Wednesday following a cardiac arrest.

The 54-year-old actor, popularly known as Sahasasimha, had complained of chest pain on Tuesday night. However, he passed away at around 2.30 am while being taken to Vikram Hospital in Mysore, where he was being treated for a leg problem.

The actor’s body has been kept at National College grounds in Bengaluru for visitors to pay their last respects on Wednesday.

Thousands of fans and celebrities had gathered at Vishnuvardhan’s Bengaluru residence at 4th block, Jayanagar, where his body was first kept.

The actor is married to Bharathi, a Kannada actress, and has two adopted daughters Keerthi and Chandana.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who was one of the first to reach the residence, said the state had lost one of its greatest actors.

He said he would declare the mourning period in the state and that Vishnuvardhan’s last rites would be done with complete state honours.

Yeddyurappa also called on the Fans Association to maintain calm.

Vishnuvardhan’s wife Bharathi also appealed for calm among the fans, saying her husband was a peace loving person.

Movie theatres in Karnataka will remain shut on Wednesday in respect to the departed star.

Just a day ago, the Karnataka film industry had lost another great artiste, music composer C Aswath.

Vishnuvardhan, who has acted in 190 films, was not only known as one of the greatest actors of Kannada film industry following Dr Raj Kumar, but also as a simple and generous human being.

Two of his films Aaptha Rakshaka — his 200th film — and Aaptha Mithra were to be released shortly.

Born on September 18, 1950, in Mysore as Samapth Kumar, the actor adopted the screen name Vishnuvardhan at the insistence of Puttana Kanagal, who directed him in his film Nagarahavu.

He made his debut in the film Vamshavruksha directed by Girish Karnad. The movie won a National Award.

However, it was the film Nagarahavu that took the actor to meteoric heights of fame.

Prior to becoming an actor, Vishnuvardhan had started off as a singer and has sung for selected films and devotional albums.

Karnataka minister Suresh Kumar said the state was “devastated over the death of the greatest actor of the Kannada film industry”.

Some of his biggest hits were Vamsha Vruksha, Nagarahaavu, Suprabhatha, Leela, Bandhana, Kaidhi, Yajamana and Aaptha Mithra among others.

The actor has also won many prestigious awards, including seven state awards and five Filmfare awards.

Kasab’s retraction won’t hinder the 26/11 trial

While the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai terror attacks, Ajmal Kasab, retracting his confessional statement before the special court trying the 26/11 case is a stumbling block, legal experts are of the opinion that it will not be an insurmountable hurdle.

Legal experts say had Kasab not retracted his confession, it would have made the court’s job much easier and it could have gone ahead with the sentencing directly. Now it will have to examine the circumstances under which the confession statement was made. The first and foremost point is whether the confession was judicial in nature.

In this case, the confession was made before the magistrate and hence it is judicial in nature. But this does not give the prosecution a blanket protection from having to explain under what circumstances the confession was made.

The prosecution will now have to explain to the court whether the confession was voluntary in nature or if it was forced upon the accused. Had Kasab not retracted his statements before the magistrate, the prosecution could have sought his immediate sentencing.

However, there is nothing for the prosecution to worry about, say experts. The statements of over 200 witnesses have been recorded all of which points to Kasab’s guilt.