Defence Minister A K Antony yesterday ordered the immediate transfer of National Defence Academy (NDA) commandant Lieutenant General Jatinder Singh to ensure a fair investigation into the alleged recruitment scam in the prestigious military training academy.
The NDA was not aware of the decision and did not report any communication from the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The 128th course of the NDA is set to begin this week. NDA officials said there was no change in the training schedule. In spite of the transfer, the NDA reported no change in the schedule of even the commandant’s speech.
“We are unaware about the (transfer) decision,” NDA spokesperson G Girish said. “We came to know about the transfer through the news channels. We have not received any official orders.”
Money for jobs
The minister took the transfer decision after several people connected with the academy, including the staff officer of Lt Gen Singh, were arrested by the CBI for taking bribes. Besides Lieutenant General Jatinder Singh’s staff officer Colonel Kulbir Singh, five persons were arrested for accepting bribes from candidates during a recruitment drive at the NDA last month.
NDA Establishment Officer Suhas Shankar Waghmare was also among those arrested by the CBI last week over allegations that he had taken money from over 15 candidates. Girish said the NDA was fully cooperating with the CBI investigation and providing all information sought by the central agency.
He refused to divulge how many officers were questioned during the internal inquiry. The Defence Ministry took serious note of the fact that the staff officer of the NDA commandant was accused of involvement in the recruitment scam.
“This shifting is with a view to ensuring a free and fair investigation in the alleged bribery racket in the recruitment of Group ‘C’ posts in the NDA, Khadakwasla, Pune,” Defence Ministry spokesperson N Aao said in New Delhi.
The in-charge of tri-services training academies, which include NDA, integrated defence staff chief Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha had also met the Defence Minister over the issue.
Lt Gen Jatinder Singh should have left on his own: Rtd air marshal
Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (Retired) said NDA Commandant Lieutenant General Jatinder Singh should not have waited for the Defence Ministry to order his transfer and instead should have asked to be moved out on his own. “Whether the commandant is guilty or not will be cleared after the investigation, but on moral grounds the commandant should have left much earlier. In the history of the NDA, this is the first time that there has been a sudden transfer of the commandant over the issue of corruption,” he said.