New Delhi: With Army Chief General Dalbir Singh accusing one of his predecessors General (Retd.) V.K. Singh of victimising him and trying to stop his promotion, the Congress Party on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cognizance of the issue and constitute an inquiry against the Minister of State for External Affairs.
“We have to believe the statement of the sitting Army Chief. Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to take note of the issue and immediately proceed to constitute an inquiry and take action against General (Retd.) V.K. Singh,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told ANI.
“Does General (Retd.) V.K. Singh even has the right to continue as a minister in these circumstances? It is a matter that the PM needs to ponder upon,” he added.
In an affidavit submitted in his personal capacity to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the Army Chief has said that in 2012 he was sought to be victimised by the then COAS General V.K. Singh “with the sole purpose of denying me promotion to the appointment of Army Commander”.
“False, baseless and imaginary allegations of lapses were levelled against me in the show cause notice” of May 19, 2012 and consequent imposition of an “illegal” discipline and vigilance (DV) ban, the Army chief has stated in his affidavit.
The affidavit was filed in response to a petition moved by Lieutenant General (Retd.) Ravi Dastane, who alleged favouritism in Dalbir Singh’s selection as the Army Commander, making him next in line to succeed General Bikram Singh.
Dalbir Singh was placed under a DV ban by V K Singh between April and May 2012 for alleged “failure of command and control” after a Court of Inquiry was ordered into an operation carried out in Jorhat, Assam, on the night of December 20-21, 2011 by the 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit.
Dalbir Singh was then General Officer Commanding of the Dimapur-based 3 Corps.
Referring to the Jorhat operation in his affidavit, he has stated “on that day, I was away on part of annual leave and rejoined duty on 26 Dec 2011”.
His promotion as GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, with effect from June 15, 2012, was cleared by General Bikram Singh, who reversed the DV ban after V.K. Singh retired on May 31, 2012.
This delayed promotion, after reserving the vacant Army Commander’s post for 15 days, was challenged by Dastane in the Supreme Court. He contended he was eligible to be Army Commander but was denied the opportunity by General Bikram Singh, who favoured Dalbir Singh despite the latter being under a DV ban at the relevant time. (ANI)