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Corruption in Army shakes confidence of society, says court in order sentencing retd Major Gen to jail


New Delhi: Sentencing an 80-year-old retired Major General to three years' rigorous imprisonment in a bribery case that stemmed from a 2001 sting operation by Tehelka news portal, a court here observed that corruption in Indian Army shakes the very confidence of the society and the culprit should be appropriately punished.

Special CBI Judge Shailendra Malik, in his August 22, order convicted Major General (retd) S P Murgai under Section 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for receiving a bribe of Rs 70,000 in a defence procurement matter and also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on him.

"Corruption in any department cannot be tolerated but when it comes to corruption in Indian Army, this fact substantially shakes the very confidence of the society and therefore convict requires to be sentenced appropriately," the judge said in the order uploaded recently on court website.

During 'Operation Westend' by Tehelka portal, its functionaries had met  various persons including government servants, defence personnel, businessmen and politicians etc. purportedly to facilitate obtaining of supply order of defence equipments.

One of the functionaries of Tehelka was Mathew Samuel who was a correspondent (investigation).

The court referred to the testimony of a former IAS officer L M Mehta and another major general of the defence ministry P S K Chaudhary. According to the prosecution, Murgai took Samuel (posing as a defence manufacturer) to his residence.

The CBI had registered the case on February 3, 2006, and it was alleged that Murgai received illegal gratification of Rs 70,000 for himself from the representative of Tehelka as a motive or reward for inducing, by the exercise of personal influence with officials of the Ministry of Defence, in the matter of getting order for supply of defence equipment to the Indian Army.

After thorough investigation, a charge sheet was filed on October 31, 2007, before the special court.

Murgai, who served in the Army in various capacities from 1962 till September 30, 2000, was used by a Tehelka sting team to gain access to key officers dealing with armament procurement at Army headquarters.

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