New Delhi: Hours after a leading national daily published Army Chief General VK Singh’s sensational remarks that he was offered a bribe to clear a defence purchase, Union Defence Minister AK Antony has ordered a CBI probe into the allegations.
Antony, who was seized of the matter as per the Army Chief, said the allegations are "serious". "We have to handle it," he added.
The Defence Minister’s remarks came after the issue rocked both Houses of Parliament, which were adjourned till 12.00 noon.
The minister is expected to make a statement in Parliament on the matter today, sources said.
Also, the government has gone into a huddle following BJP’s offensive stance on the issue, with Union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Pawan Bansal and V Narayanasamy holding a meeting over the sensational claims.
The BJP, which gave a notice to the Speaker of Lok Sabha for suspension of the Question Hour, accused the government of being neck deep in corruption.
Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, “This government is neck deep in corruption. Now these scamsters have the daring to approach the Army Chief…this is unheard of. This is outrageous.”
“UPA government has lost the moral authority to continue even for a day,” he added.
In an interview to The Hindu, Gen Singh claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by an equipment lobbyist.
The lobbyist, who recently retired from the Army, was ready to bribe the Army Chief if he approved the acquisition of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make.
Gen Singh described the state of affairs in the Army as “shocking”, saying the same led to conditions wherein an attempt was made to bribe the Army Chief.
“Just imagine, one of these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if I cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs 14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me, to the Army Chief. He told me that people had taken money before me and they will take money after me,” Gen Singh told the newspaper.
First Published: Monday, March 26, 2012, 11:44