In a sensational development, the current army chief has told the highest court in the country how General (Retd) VK Singh had launched a full-blown campaign to stall his promotion during the latter’s time as the army chief.
The Indian army chief, General Dalbir Singh told the Supreme Court that Gen (Retd) Singh, now a minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, attempted to stop his promotion “with mysterious design, malafide intent and to arbitrarily punish” him for “extraneous reasons.”
This is the first time the country’s serving army chief has spoken against his predecessor and a cabinet minister in the Supreme Court.
A report published in The Indian Express has made stunning allegations against VK Singh, who fell out with the then UPA government over age row only to join the BJP soon after he retired from the army.
According to General Dalbir Singh’s affidavit submitted in his personal capacity to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the army chief 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.”
The army chief said, “The passing of directions for initiating administrative action against me after about one month of having already finalised the Court of Inquiry smacks of a motivated, biased, arbitrary and malicious intent to punish me which the then COAS executed apparently as planned by him.”
He has underlined it is now “revealed clearly that the imposition of DV ban and issue of show cause notice to me by the then COAS was illegal and premeditated”.
“Despite there being no evidence against me at the Court of Inquiry, the show cause notice was issued malafidely. No material whatsoever of attendant circumstances was provided to me. The show cause notice issued, beside suffering from vagueness, was premeditated and also against the principles of natural justice,” his affidavit statesY.
The army chief filed the affidavit in response to a petition moved by Lt Gen (retd) Ravi Dastane who alleged favouritism in Dalbir Singh’s selection as Army Commander, making him next in line to succeed General Bikram Singh.
General Dalbir’s promotion as GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, with effect from 15 June, 2012 was cleared by General Bikram Singh who reversed the DV ban after V K Singh retired on 31 May, 2012.
Dastane has challenged this delayed promotion, as the army’s Commander’s post remained vacant for 15 days.
In February 2012, the Supreme Court had rejected VK Singh’s stand on the date of birth row concluding that the UPA government’s decision on his date of birth would apply to his service matters, prompting him to withdraw his petition.