V K Singh attacks predecessors over age issue

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Nov 10: Former army chief V K Singh has attacked his predecessor J J Singh, claiming that he initiated a "look down policy" through which he, along with a few other officers, were "fixed" to clear the way for "an officer of his choice" to take over as the Chief of Army Staff in 2012.

The former chief, who spent his last days in office battling the government in court over his age issue, has said in his autobiography that the "particular officer" seemed to be the choice of people in the government including the wife of a very important political personality.

Both former army chiefs J J Singh and Deepak Kapoor have contradicted the claims made by V K Singh in his book titled 'Courage and Convictions' on issues related to his age controversy. "It is now an established fact that Gen J J Singh had, within months of taking charge, initiated the 'look down policy' that would give a clear idea as to what the line of succession would, or could be....What mattered was chief's own list, for as COAS he could tweak events to clear the way for his choice immediately after me.

"It was brought to J J's notice that if he could truncate my tenure as the chief to a two-year period, then the path could be cleared for the officer of his choice and perhaps the choice of others in government, to take over in 2012," he says. "A bit of deft manoeuvring was needed to remove impediments from the path of the officer on whom the chief had his eye," according to him.

Gen Singh says among those who would have to be fixed included Maj Gens Ravi Arora, A K Singh, Sujan Chatterjee and Brigadiers Padam Budhwar and M M Chowdhary. He claims that in the scheme of things, it was an imperative that he becomes the chief but "only for a limited period". There was a controversy over the date of birth of the former chief.

V K Singh claimed it to be May 10, 1951 whereas the government decided it to be May 10, 1950. Had the government accepted his claim, he would have retired on March 31, this year instead of May 31, 2012 and would have resulted in the change of his successor.

Reacting to the claims in the book about him, J J Singh said, "This was incorrect." In the book, V K Singh claims that his immediate predecessor Deepak Kapoor had asked him to accept May 10, 1950 as his date of birth to get the file cleared from the Defence Ministry and when he questioned the attempt to change his original date of birth, he was assured by the then chief that the issue will be sorted out subsequently.

Former army chief V K Singh has attacked his predecessor J J Singh.

He said he gave in writing to Kapoor accepting his date of birth to be May 10, 1950. "This is wrong to say that I gave any assurance to Gen V K Singh or Lt Gen Milan Naidu about correcting his age. Gen V K Singh had also given me a certificate accepting that he was born in May 10, 1950," Kapoor told PTI.

Among the other issues in the book, Singh also questions the government policy over the transgressions from the Chinese side based on his experiences in the Northeast and his meeting with the Chinese during visits there as Army Commander. He says the Chinese regiments deployed on border have a Commanding Officer, who has a "watchdog political commissar attached to his tail".

"There is nothing ambiguous about anything that the Chinese do. The Commissars have homogenous orders which go right back to the top. If we think that any incursions are localised transgressions, then we are kidding ourselves," Singh has written.

He has also sought to justify the action taken by him against Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag during his last days in office, saying he had to take steps as the 3 Corps was not taking action against its intelligence unit chief who was allegedly involved in an unauthorised raid on a local contractor from where they stole electronic items including mobile phones and a pistol.


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