When the Adarsh scam came to light, and there was great dirt flying about, most of it directed in the direction of the Army's top brass, serving as well as retired, the Army went into damage control mode. And quite rightly so. It was the need of the hour to save it's reputation and the COAS himself gave went to his anguish over the fact that the highest office of the service too was under the scanner.
Accordingly a Court of Inquiry was ordered to probe into the affairs relating to the Adarsh scam and the principal officer facing the brunt of the inquiry was Maj Gen RK Hooda who was the latest officer to have demitted the office of GOC MG & G Area and was now serving in Army HQs. He was approved for the rank of Lt Gen, but because he was facing a Court of Inquiry he was put under a Discipline and Vigilance (DV) ban and his promotion put on hold. All this was perfectly by the book and this was how things happened.
In due course the inquiry got completed but in the meantime, Maj Gen Hooda attained his age of superannuation and had to retire from the service in the same rank. The Army Chief has recently made some statement in Poona regarding the culpability of Maj Gen Hooda fixed by the inquiry but that is not the crux of our story.
What we need to focus on is that in yet another case involving a Maj Gen, the Army did not follow the rules and in fact let him get away virtually scot free to his next rank.
Lt Gen SA Cruz was serving in the rank of Maj Gen in HQs Western Command in Chandimandir as MG (Medical) when a Court of Inquiry was ordered against him by HQs Bengal Area. The genesis of this inquiry lies in days when the General officer was commanding a military hospital in Panagarh and the allegation of private practice levelled against some of his subordinate doctors. Now, after a stay in the high court had been vacated and the two officers court martialled, evidence had come forth incriminating the General and so, to investigate the allegations and give him a fair chance of defending himself, the Army ordered a Court of Inquiry against him.
The General, like Maj Gen Hooda, was approved for the rank of Lt Gen but in his case, no DV ban was put on his promotion. He was allowed to pick up his rank in complete disregard of rules and precedence and today he is serving as Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Medical) in New Delhi.
I am told this this is not an isolated case in the Army where rules are bent to favour a few. There are enough examples which go on to show how some officers manage to get away while others suffer. Why this happens is not known. I had sent a query to the Army but they did not bother to reply.
And so while the Army goes about boasting about how the General found partially guilty in the Adarsh Court of Inquiry has been punished by not allowing him to pick up his next rank, it is conveniently not addressing why yet another General facing an inquiry has been allowed to get promoted.
Silence is not going to make the questions go away.