New Delhi: Former Army General Deepak Kapoor, who was one among 20 odd people, who attended a dinner get-together at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence, has always remained in news for wrong reasons.
Unlike most generals India has had, Gen Deepak Kapoor would say that India was incapable of fighting a two-front war where Pakistan and China would attack us simultaneously. Every other general says we are all prepared for a two-front war.
Sources told Hindusthan Samachar, it was because of General Deepak Kapoor, India did not strike Pakistan after 26/11. “On 2 December 2008, India’s military, political and intelligence leadership went into a huddle at the Prime Minister’s Office in South Block. Despite tremendous public pressure on then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to retaliate — as the incident had provoked national outrage — in that meeting, General Kapoor wondered aloud if the nation was prepared for war. He meant if Pakistan retaliated, India would not be able to handle the situation.”
Remembering the entire episode, the source said, “The first meeting of India’s security establishment was held at the PMO on 28 November, just 48 hours after the attack began and when Indian commandos were closing in on the last four terrorists holed up in the heritage wing of the Taj hotel. The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Singh included National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, Defence Minister AK Antony, the chiefs of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force. The Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, was away on a tour of South Africa and was represented by the Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General Milan Naidu. The military option was discussed in detail, but Lt General Naidu said he would rather wait for the Army chief to return from South Africa on 28 November, before taking any decision.”
When Gen Kapoor joined the discussion later, he gave a thumbs down to the idea of a surgical strike on Pakistan to give the enemy nation a lesson, the source said.
Another cable indicates that General Kapoor was dubbed as a General who was least bothered about security challenges to the country, but more concerned about making personal assets and strengthening his own cult in the Army.
According to defence experts, it was General Deepak Kapoor’s policy which divided the Indian Army into two groups. Infantry and Artillery, since his tenure, are treated differently from Armour and Services units.
Recently, a high-level inquiry committee appointed by the defence ministry to probe the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, named former Army chief General Deepak Kapoor along with several other retired military officials — citing a range of violations and irregularities in its over 100-page report. The apartments in a tony part of town in Mumbai were meant for the families of Kargil heroes, but General Kapoor also accepted a flat in the complex along with many other Army officers, politicians and bureaucrats.
Former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor was the Northern Command GOC-in-C from 5 September 2005 to 31 December 2006. He became the Vice Chief on 1 January 2007 and later took over as the Army Chief on 30 September 2007. He was also appointed Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee (COSC) appointed on 31 August 2009, before retiring on 31 March 2010.
It may also be recalled that no action was taken against the General (Retd) Deepak Kapoor, on the CAG report, which was tabled to Parliament in 2008, which had held that Gen Kapoor, as Northern Army Commander in 2005-06, had procured items worth crores “which were not related to urgent requirements”. “The issue wasn’t fully probed because the ‘whistleblower’ officer, Lt Gen HS Panag, who as the new northern command chief, had opened the inquiry into the issue, but was transferred halfway into his tenure from the northern command in February 2008.
A subsequent CAG inquiry also raised objections to the purchases and criticized Gen Kapoor and three other Army Commanders for “wrongly exercising financial powers delegated to them”. Panag also apprised the then defence minister AK Antony about the issue. The PMO was also informed, but no action was taken. Later, Lt Gen Panag was given a different posting for fear that his probe could embarrass the then Army chief Gen Kapoor,” said another source.
The CAG, after scrutinising contracts worth around Rs 49 crore, had hammered the Army for gaping deficiencies in the procurement of jackets, trousers, sleeping bags, multi-purpose boots and woollen socks. The CAG had found that the Army was accepting substandard products even after defects were pointed out. In one example, CAG had found that about 45,000 boots worth over Rs 33 crore from an Italian firm, M/s Scarpa, was approved in user trials till 2005. The boots were found to be unsuitable at below minus 20 deg C. However, the Northern Command in January 2006, then headed by Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, requested to continue procurement to ‘meet urgent requirements’.
The Sukna land scam dates back to 2008, when Deepak Kapoor was Army chief, when the alleged move to transfer the land in Siliguri district of West Bengal to a private educational trust came out in the open, leading to the Army initiating disciplinary proceedings against senior Army officials, including former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash and Lt General PK Rath.
It was alleged that while Gen Kapoor ordered court martial of Rath, he had called for a milder administrative action against Prakash, Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali and Maj Gen PK Sen, prompting defence minister AK Antony to advice the Army chief to initiate disciplinary action against Prakash too. Kapoor was considered very close to Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash.
Hindusthan Samachar/Amit Kumar