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Army Closes Court Of Inquiry Into South Western Command Rift

(This News Article Is Originally Posted on The Print by AMRITA NAYAK DUTTA)

The proceedings of a rare Court of Inquiry (CoI) set up in the wake of a rift between the two most senior officers of the Jaipur-based South Western Command have concluded, ThePrint has learnt. The two officers, high-level sources said, may not pursue the formal complaints they had made against each other.

The officers involved are South Western Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt Gen Alok Kler and his second-in-command, Lt Gen K.K. Repswal. The CoI sought to look into issues relating to the functioning of offices under the command after the two officers made allegations against each other and also filed formal complaints with Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane.

Lt Gen I.S. Ghuman, who heads the Army’s Central Command and is senior to both the officers, was given the charge of conducting the CoI.

Reached for comment, the Army said the CoI report is yet to be received. Once the report is submitted, it added, the Army headquarters will examine and vet it, and a final call will be taken on what has to be done.

Lt Gen Kler is an Armoured Corps officer, while Lt Gen Repswal is from the Corps of Engineers. The tiff between the two dates back months. 

The nature of the allegations made by the two officers against each other is not known publicly, but defence sources said most are related to the misuse of authority. 

“While one officer had alleged favouritism to certain contractors and also overlooking of procedures, another alleged that welfare funds were being spent over the stipulated limit, and use of certain funds for work with respect to the officer’s residence,” a defence source told ThePrint.

Lt Gen Kler is scheduled to retire in the next few months, and Lt Gen Repswal’s posting orders for the Eastern Command are already out, sources said, adding that this is perhaps among the reasons why the two officers are unlikely to pursue their official complaints.

Army officers said it is anyway rare to have a CoI over a rift between senior officers at this level. The complaints, they added, may have been dealt with internally and secretively.

Issues with ‘functioning of command flagged’

The South Western Command of the Army oversees parts of India’s borders in Punjab and Rajasthan. 

After the two officers approached the Army chief last year, General Naravane deputed former Army vice-chief Lt Gen S.K. Saini to look into the differences, and submit a report. 

The report furnished by Lt Gen Saini reportedly highlighted several issues with respect to the functioning of the South Western Command. 

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Shankul Bhandare

Hello, I am shankul and I love defence research and development and want to spread it through blogging.

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