The Jalandhar-based Headquarters 11 Corps has ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged theft of huge aluminium rods worth several lakhs used to erect signal towers from the Signals Centre situated in the highly secure Corps Headquarters zone. A Colonel-rank officer is heading the CoI, which was initiated on June 9, a day after the alleged theft of the rods came to the fore.
The Army authorities were tightlipped about how the matter came to the fore, number of rods that went missing and the exact market price. But sources maintained that the issue came to notice when tall aluminium rods weighing between 95 and 200 kg each were found missing from the stocks of the Signals Centre on June 8.
Sources ruled out an easy attempt to steal the rods from the stocks of the highly secure centre but maintained that it was a matter of grave concern and would be investigated at the earliest.
“All stocks of the centre are being checked. The Army is also questioning everybody linked with the centre to solve the case threadbare,” sources added.
The Army authorities also pointed towards a possible theory of alleged theft during the recently concluded “Exercise Ashwamedh” of the Vajra Corps, which was held from May 27th to 30th in the western sector. It is pertinent to mention here that troops from the Signals Centre, with its highly tactical battle equipment, were part of the exercise.
It was also learnt that the Army authorities were making inquiries from various scrap dealers to check if any such material was sold out to them recently, the sources added. Rumours are doing the rounds that the tower rods were to be dispatched to a unit in Ambala Cantonment. However, the sources did not divulge anything on this issue.
Meanwhile, though the police is in the know, no case has been registered as of now. When contacted, Manpreet Singh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Jalandhar Cantonment, said, “Though an Army officer had approached us, we have not registered any case as there has been no green signal from their side.”
However, Defence spokesperson Naresh Vig said, “The case has been reported to police. Meanwhile, CoI has also been ordered and investigations are on.”