Army chief files affidavit in SC against V K Singh

Army chief files affidavit in SC against V K Singh

Former army chief tried to stall promotion: Dalbir Singh

Army chief files affidavit in SC against V K Singh

Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh has accused former chief of staff Gen (retd) V K Singh, now a Minister of State for External Affairs, of showing “malafide intent” to “arbitrarily punish” him and stall his promotion.

This is possibly for the first time a serving Indian Army chief has openly charged a minister in the Supreme Court.

“Then army chief (V K Singh) with mischievous design, malafide intent and to arbitrarily punish me without following the principles of natural justice, issued a show cause notice, which contained unsubstantiated facts and vague allegations,” Gen Dalbir Singh said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The army chief on Thursday met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to explain why he had to file the affidavit in his personal capacity while responding to a petition moved by Lt Gen (retd) Ravi Dastane who had alleged “favouritism” during his selection as the army commander.

Lt Gen (retd) Dastane moved the apex court after the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) ruled in favour of Gen Dalbir Singh, who took the same position before the AFT in 2012.

There is a long-standing feud between the two generals with Gen Dalbir Singh accusing V K Singh of attempting to stall his career progress.

Towards the end of his tenure, V K Singh imposed a “discipline and vigilance” ban on Gen Dalbir Singh (then Lt Gen), for his failure in “command and control” for a botched up intelligence operation in Jorhat in December 2011. The ban was lifted by Gen Bikram Singh once he succeeded Gen V K Singh.

In his affidavit, the army chief said he was on leave when the operation took place on the night of December 20-21 and resumed duty five days later.

The subsequent Court of Inquiry did not find him guilty of any wrongdoing. Gen Dalbir Singh asserted that he was never examined as a witness by the Eastern Command, which convened the Court of Inquiry.

The affidavit quoted the AFT ruling which stated that Gen (retd) V K Singh’s decision to proceed against Gen Dalbir Singh a month after he was let off created “doubt in the mind of the court particularly when the recommendations (on Gen Dalbir’s selection as army commander) had reached the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.”

“I was sought to be victimised by then army chief (V K Singh) with the sole purpose of denying me promotion to the appointment of the army commander. False, baseless and imaginary allegations of lapses were leveled against me in the show cause notice,” Gen Dalbir Singh stated in the affidavit. Former army chief V K Singh, however, is yet to respond to the charges.

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