New Delhi (India), Mar 9 (ANI): More than 18 months after his retirement, a Major General is facing a court martial for allegedly providing wrong information to get a higher disability pension.
The officer contested the charges levelled against him by the Army headquarters in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) which granted him bail.
The Major General was part of the Military Training Directorate and retired in August 2017, but the Army applied Army Act Rule 123 to carry out disciplinary proceedings against him over his medical record. As per the rule, the Army can carry out trial against its personnel even after they have retired.
"It is intimated that the General Court Martial (GCM) is assembling on March 6. You are hereby placed under close arrest with effect from March 5," the Army's Delhi Area Headquarters said in the court martial convening order issued on February 27.
In the court martial, the Army has levelled four charges against the officer including wrong information provided by him due to which he could get a higher disability pension after retirement.
In the forces, any officer or jawan, who has suffered an injury during service, is entitled for extra pension, known as disability pension, and it is non-taxable.
The officer's counsel, Major Sudhanshu Pandey (retd), said, "It is a strange case to victimise an officer of the rank of Major General who retired on August 31, 2017..."
According to the petition filed by the officer in the court, he met with an accident in April 2010 after which he was put under low medical category.
"He was upgraded after six months in November 2010 by a review medical board and promoted as Brigadier in 2012. He was downgraded in 2014 for some respiratory problem to a lower category. In May 2015 without the officer claiming, he was detected with fractures of rib 1 to rib 4 based on X-Ray and MRI by doctors at the Command Hospital in Lucknow. The officer claimed that he should be given a higher percentage of disability pension which was accepted by the medical board on review. After that, he only asked for conduct of his medical board after five months that to see if his condition improved," Pandey said.
After the medical category of the officer was upgraded by the medical board, he was promoted as Major General in December 2015.
"At the time of release from service, the doctors detected his problem and downgraded him again which the Army Headquarters is contesting. The point is none of the medical boards found he was giving information wrongly and yet the officer is facing the charge which is most strange," the officer's counsel said.
Major Pandey alleged that the authorities concerned are misusing their power and "are liable for malicious prosecution". The officer was wrongly placed under close arrest and the tribunal has enlarged him on bail, he said, adding that the tribunal has also directed that the decision of the GCM will be subject to the final decision of the AFT.
A few years ago, a retiring service chief had appealed to the government, ahead of his retirement, for a higher disability pension on the ground that his hearing had suffered due to military service, but it was turned down.
Recently, a Lieutenant General had made a request for a higher disability pension right before retirement. This was also rejected by the government. (ANI)