Assam Rifles without chief for five months
New Delhi: Assam Rifles, the major counter- insurgency force in the northeast, remains headless since the last five months as the Defence Ministry has failed to spare a Lieutenant General-rank army officer to lead the force. The post of Director General (DG) of Assam Rifles has been lying vacant since February after incumbent Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy was repatriated to the army by the Home Ministry, months after allegations of fund misuse cropped up against him.
"We want to appoint a Lt Gen rank officer, who has the experience of heading an Army Corps. But unfortunately, so far, the Defence Ministry has not been able to suggest any such name," a senior Home Ministry officer said. Though there have been several communications between the Defence and the Home Ministries, the issue has not been resolved yet.
The Shillong headquartered Assam Rifles, which guards the 1,648-km long Indo-Myanmar border and fights insurgency in the northeast, is administratively under the Home Ministry while its operational control lies with the Defence Ministry. After Lt Gen Roy`s departure, second-in-command Maj Gen R K Lakhanpal is officiating as the Director General of the country`s oldest paramilitary force.
Following an inquiry on the allegations of Rs 23,000 misuse of regimental funds, the Home Ministry had found nothing against Lt Gen Roy and concluded that the complaint was baseless and mala fide. Lt Gen Roy, however, was sent back to army after serving as DG of Assam Rifles only for 14 months following a request of the Defence Ministry which said his services were required in the army.