New Delhi: Amid outrage over his claims of having been offered a bribe, Army Chief General VK Singh said on Monday that corruption is entrenched in the system like a cancer and a big surgery is the need of the hour.
Gen Singh, in an interview to a newspaper, had made explosive revelation that he was offered a bribe by an equipment lobbyist.
The lobbyist, who recently retired from the Army, offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to ensure approval of the acquisition of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make, Singh said.
After the issue rocked the Parliament on Monday, in an interview to Chauthi Duniya, Gen Singh detailed the sequence of events.
“When one individual, who has recently retired from the Army, in between talking about many other things, says that you will get this (Rs 14 crore) if you agree, and when one hasn’t heard of something like this before, then it would leave you stumped,” Singh said.
“He said in a way that for some time I could not understand what the import of his offer…it was not that he was placing bribe money in my palm. He said everybody takes it (bribe), what is your problem…it was an indirect method, that’s why I didn’t order his arrest at that time… so I told him to leave before anything else happens,” he added.
“I told this (bribe offer) to my defence minister. He held his head in his hands and said that we should keep such people away (from the Army),” Singh revealed.
Singh, who had taken on the government over his age, said that he and the Defence Minister are on the same page when it came to eliminating corruption from the system.
“If we believe that everything can be rectified in my short tenure then we are mistaken…it is like a cancer in our system and would need a big surgery. I and the Defence Minister have the understanding that we will not encourage it…but it will take time,” Singh quipped.
On the procedure adopted for procuring equipment for the Army, Singh said that the government had taken a decision long back that middlemen would not be allowed and he had tried to ensure that there is transparency at all times.
“What we did... it was that whatever we buy, whatever procedure we adopt, there should be transparency. Army is dedicated to the nation and when it fights it should have the means to protect the nation and if we don’t do it then we would be called traitors,” he said.