Govt says army chief's age issue dealt fairly

Govt says army chief's age issue dealt fairly

Caught in a row over his age, Army Chief Gen V K Singh today said the issue related to his "integrity and honour" but would desist from "vitiating" the atmosphere even as the government hoped the controversy would end as the matter had been dealt with "fairly and justly".

Gen Singh said he had tackled the issue in "organisational interest" but remained evasive on whether he would accept the government's decision according to which he will have to retire on May 31 this year.

"The issue (of age) has always been, I am emphasising it, the issue has always been that of integrity and honour," he said at a press conference when asked about the controversy.

"The issue is that of integrity and honour, right from the time the issue came to the forefront... This issue has always been tackled by me in organisational interest," he said adding the matter would impact only on his family.

Gen Singh had two sets of dates in the official records -- May 10, 1950 and May 10, 1951, leading to the controversy.

He has been contending that May 10,1951 should be treated as his actual date of birth as it was mentioned in his 10th certificate but the Defence Ministry has rejected it as May 10, 1950 is the date entered in his UPSC entrance form.

"It is an issue on which I will desist from answering anything for the simple reason that the issue is, somebody has gone to the court and all kind of speculations are going on and there is no point in vitiating the way things are," he said.

Home Minister P Chidambaram later said, "We are unhappy that the controversy should have erupted but I am hopeful that the controversy will be resolved... The matter has been dealt with fairly and justly by the ministry concerned."

At the same time, he said, "We hold the Army Chief in great respect. He is a fine soldier. He has done remarkable service to the country."

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