New Delhi: Following the clearance from the Defence Ministry and the Army on the Sukna land controversy in 2010, Lt General Ramesh Halgali has been appointed as the new Deputy Chief of the Army.

The post was lying vacant for close to three months after Lt Gen V S Tonk retired on October 31 last year.

The Defence Ministry and the Army agreed to expunge the 'censure' awarded to him in the Sukna land scam by the then Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor in 2010 from his Annual Confidential Record.

Following which, Halgali was recommended for this post.

Significantly, Halgali was Chief of Staff in the 33 Corps under Lt Gen P K Rath when the controversy over the land scam broke out in 2009 and a court of inquiry was ordered by the Eastern Army Command.

Officials said the scam had come to light after Lt Gen Halgali brought it to the notice of the higher authorities. The 'censure' awarded to him was expunged in December after which he was awarded the Ati Vishisht Sewa Medal (AVSM) on January 26, they said.

The Court of Inquiry in 2009 had indicted former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash and former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen Rath for their role in issuing 'No Objection Certificates' to private realtors for building educational institutions over a 70-acre piece of land adjacent to the Sukna military station in Darjeeling district.

(JPN/ Bureau)