Cheers Minister Antony

Prashun Bhaumik |

By Sanjiv Acharya

Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony has once again proved that he is not only a honest politician but also a strict administrator. His latest warning to Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor to initiate court martial proceedings against military secretary Lt-Gen Avadesh Prakash for his alleged involvement in a land scam in the Darjeeling is a fine example of that. Prakash will be the first three-star general to face such action.

Well placed sources say Gen Kapoor has very strong support within the Congress and the government. In fact, his name was proposed by some influential officials as the probable Governor for Madhya Pradesh. Gen Kapoor was so confidant of his clout that he was trying every trick in o the game to convince Defence Minister that he should not be pressurized beyond a limit as it would send a wrong signal of the defence minister interfering in the military affairs. But Antony was not one to listen to the general.  Contrary to his soft speak, Antony was said to be so angry that he literally snubbed Gen Kapoor and told him in no uncertain terms that if he was not going to obey his order then he may have to face disciplinary action himself. An official aide confirmed that he had never seen his boss so angry. It is a well-known fact that nobody in the Congress or the government can either request or recommend any favours from him.

In this case, Gen Kapoor tried a number of times to convince the minister that disciplinary proceedings were enough against Gen Prakash but Antony ordered his personal staff to find out the truth. He was given a secret report by his investigating team that clearly spoke of Gen Prakash being on the wrong and suggested that they were serious enough to merit a court martial. Antony explained the case to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who also gave him the green signal to “order” Gen Kapoor to initiate court martial proceedings against Gen Prakash. Three cheers “Thankachan” (Antony’s nickname).