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Navy man faked war exploits to get cheap house?

My-India.Net: India Forum: India Government & Politics: Navy man faked war exploits to get cheap house?

By Disappointed Citizen on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 08:31 am: Edit Post

Mumbai Mirror posted a story alleging that a retired Naval Captain lied about his participation in combat in order to buy a house from MHADA. The newspaper claims that he forged a "War Certificate", and had "never even set foot in Sri Lanka", because he was too unfit to do so.

Fact is, he is a highly decorated veteran of not 1, but 2 combat operations. He led a Warship at Sri Lanka during the IPKF operations for 2 years inspite of a heart condition and suffered shrapnel wounds. However, the officer never claimed participation in any "war": he only claimed participation in Combat operations. No such thing a "War Certificate" exists, how can it be forged????

The newspaper claimed that he has retired, was posted at the "Army Supply Corps" and that he suffered bullet injuries. In fact, he is still very much serving, no such organization called "Army Supply Corps" exists anyways in the Navy, and he had never claimed any bullet injuries.

The newspaper seems to be infatuated with the word "War" and has sprinkled it liberally all over the article. However, there was no "War" in 88-90, and the officer never claimed so! The newspaper couldn't even get the officer's name correct! Talk about responsible journalism and background research!

After completing his tenure in the war-zone, the officer has gone-on to accomplish many critical assignments. He has since implemented the most advanced IT systems in the Navy, initiated relief efforts in the Gujrat earthquake, and turned around multiple non-performing Naval units. His accomplishments were honored by the President, and have turned into case studies for many organizations, including the World Bank.

We are witnessing first hand, the enormous impact of sloppy journalism. This dents not only individual reputations, but also our collective morale. The only effort to verify the facts was a phone call to the Navy PRO. But since the journo even didn't know the name correctly, the PRO couldn't refute the allegations.

After a lifetime of exemplary service and a stellar career, one single article has wiped it all out. The Times of India used to once be a reliable source of true and verified news. As you can see, it has now degenerated completely and prints factually incorrect disinformation. While trying to increase readership, it has ended up damaging the morale of the whole nation. Can we trust our newspapers to tell us the truth? Let us use the internet to voice the individual's message.Posted below is the complete story along with a para-wise comment. Please forward this mail to everyone you know. May truth prevail.

************************Complete Story*********************************

At a time when a retired army general has claimed that the 1971 Battle of Longewala, one of the most significant in 's military history, never happened, it has emerged that a Navy captain who claimed to have fought in Sri Lanka as a member of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force in 1987-88 didn't even set foot in Lanka as part of the IPKF.

Retired Navy captain Satish Shankar acquired a plush row house from MHADA (Maharshtra Housing and Area Development Authority) worth Rs 1 crore in Dindoshi, Malad, last year on the basis of his claim that he had fought in the 'war' against Sri Lanka in 1987-88. MHADA offers houses to people from the armed forces who have been injured during conflict. Families of war victims are also given homes by the authority.

It has now come to light that the 'war certificate' submitted by him to MHADA was forged. MHADA's vigilance department has instituted an inquiry to find out how Shankar got the 1,500 sq mt row house, which is today worth Rs 1 crore (he got it at a nominal rate). Chief vigilance officer of MHADA Jawahar Singh confirmed they have begun an inquiry against Shankar but refused to divulge more details.

According to MHADA officials, Shankar (Service Number-02166-Y) was posted in the Army Supply Core (ASC) division of Indian Navy and opted for VRS some years ago. Post-retirement, he submitted a letter to MHADA claiming he had been injured by a bullet in the IPKF's 'war' and hence was eligible for a row house.

Believing his claim, MHADA officials gave him a choice between a flat and a row house at Dindoshi. Shankar took the row house.

In the first place, MHADA officials did not take into account the fact that there had never been a 'war' between and Sri Lanka. In 1987-88, Lanka had only asked for 's help against Tamil Tigers, following which sent the IPKF which carried out 'Operation Pawan' in that country.

Shankar was also posted in the lower ranks of the ASC, so the Navy could not have sent him to fight in any 'war'. Only in rare cases are ASC workers sent to the warfront.

Most importantly, four years before the conflict, i.e, on December 17, 1984, Shankar had been declared permanently ill as he had a severe heart problem. A surgeon in the force had suggested Shankar take up a writing job and avoid any physical exertion. Doctors even advised him to go for check-ups once in every six months.

The question of sending him to a conflict zone therefore did not arise at all.

While Shankar could not be contacted for comment, chief public relations officer of the Western Naval Command, Captain Abhay Labhante, said he has no idea about the matter. "MHADA has not written any letter to me on this," he said.

************************End of Story*************************************

************************Para-Wise Comments******************************

Officer was allotted the house through a public lottery.

Officer is a veteran of not one but two Operations namely Op Pawan and Op Vijay.

Officer participated in operations despite a disability due to abnormal heart conditions because of the service exigencies.

The officer submitted a Medical Certificate and not 'War Certificate'. The Medical Certificate submitted by the officer is verified from the medical records and found correct.

No certificate such as 'War Certificate' either exists or was submitted.

The officer is serving in the Navy and has neither retired nor opted for any VRS.

There is no Army Supply Core in the Navy. He was in the Combat arm of the Navy during Operation Pawan and was the Second in Command of the warship INS Ghorpad.

The officer applied while serving in the Navy and not after retirement. He has never claimed anywhere that he was injured by any bullet at any point of time.

The officer was allotted a house under Defence Category and General Category through a public lottery. He chose the Defence Category house.

The house was allotted after protracted correspondence, verification and not merely on belief.

MHADA had initially denied the house claiming that he was ineligible. However, consequent to the officer's appeal against mis-interpretations of the regulations by MHADA to various authorities such as the Governor of Maharashtra, Chief Seceretary, Principal Secretary and Chief Executive of MHADA, the officer was finally allotted a house, 18 months after application.

The officer never claimed participation in any War as alleged. He only claimed participation in IPKF operations.

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