Another tussle between Army Chief, Defence Ministry

Differences between the Defence Ministry and Army Chief Gen V K Singh appear to be continuing.

New Delhi: Differences between the Defence
Ministry and Army Chief General V K Singh appeared to be
continuing with the ministry blocking his proposal for
appointment of a top military official to the post of Director
General of Assam Rifles.

Gen Singh, who had lost a bitter battle against the
ministry in the Supreme Court on his age issue recently, had
recommended the name of Lt Gen A K Choudhary, who is the
Director General Military Operations (DGMO), for the post in a
proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

But the MHA, which exercises control over the Assam
Rifles, was asked not to consider the proposal by the Defence
Ministry which raised objections as it did not have the
approval of the Defence Secretary or any other competent
authority, sources said.

The Defence Ministry has now asked the Army to propose a
fresh panel of officers for the appointment but the latter has
not yet responded, they said.

Earlier, the Army had nominated a panel of three officers
including Lt Gen Choudhary and Adjutant General Lt Gen J P

It is unusual that Army is approaching the MHA directly
bypassing the Defence Ministry as normally all such proposals
are approved by it before they are forwarded to other
Ministries, they said.

They said the appointment of previous incumbent Lt Gen
Rameshwar Roy in 2010 had the sanction of the Defence

The post of DG, Assam Rifles has been lying vacant since
February 22 after the Army kept pressing the MHA to repatriate
Lt Gen Roy back to his parent service.

Sources said it is doubtful whether the recall of Lt Gen
Roy had the sanction of the Defence Ministry as the
communication sent to him by the MHA in this regard referred
to a letter by the Army only.

The Army had sought Roy`s recall from the MHA accusing
him of involvement in financial misappropriation, a charge
which could not be proved in an inquiry.

Relations between the Army and the Defence Ministry were
adversely impacted after Gen V K Singh alleged that the
Defence Ministry was "biased" and "lacked objectivity" on his
age issue.

A few months ago, he had also asked the Defence Ministry
to accept and implement the Army promotion boards for senior
officers and promotion policy simultaneously without getting
the latter approved in advance.

To avoid a stand-off on the issue, Defence Minister AK
Antony got the Army promotion board of senior Army officers
cleared despite reservations expressed by senior ministry