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Defence Min examining row over Army Chief`s age

The Defence Ministry is examining the controversy over Army Chief Gen VK Singh`s age on which the government would take a final decision, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Monday.



New Delhi: The Defence Ministry is
examining the controversy over Army Chief Gen VK Singh`s age
on which the government would take a final decision, Defence
Minister AK Antony said on Monday.

"Why set a deadline (for resolving the issue)… Before
that we have to examine the whole thing and ultimately the
Government will take a decision," he said when asked when the
Defence Ministry would take a decision on the controversy.

Antony was talking to reporters after inaugurating the
biennial Air Force Commanders’ Conference here.

The Defence Ministry has already asked for all the
documents related to the Army Chief’s age to examine them and
the matter is likely to be placed before the Appointments
Committee of Cabinet for a final decision.

The controversy around Army Chief’s age resurfaced
after the Law Ministry opined that Singh`s correct date of
birth is May 10, 1951, and not May 10, 1950 which he had
accepted after controversy about his age came up around 2008
when he was being considered for appointment as Eastern Army
Commander.

The Army, for replying to RTI queries about the age of
its top-level officers, had through the Defence Ministry
sought Law Ministry`s opinion if the date of birth mentioned
in the matriculation certificate could be used for
ascertaining the correct age.

"The Law Ministry answered in the affirmative saying
the correct age of Army Chief should be May 10, 1951 as the
matriculation certificate is the valid document for date of
birth proof," Defence Ministry sources had said.

The Army Chief`s date of birth varies in records of
the Adjutant General`s and Military Secretary`s branches. The
AG branch, the official record keeper for salary and pension,
has May 10, 1951 as Singh`s date of birth but the Military
Secretary`s (MS) branch, in charge of promotions and postings,
records his date of birth as May 10, 1950.

Gen Singh is supposed to retire on June 1, 2012 but if
this date of birth is accepted, he may get an extension of
around one year in office. As per rules, an Army Chief can
serve for three years or up to the age of 62, whichever is
earlier.

The issue will also determine as to who will succeed
Gen Singh in office as if he retires in June 2012, Lt Gen
Bikram Singh will be the most-likely successor and if he gets
an extension, Lt Gen KT Parnaik would be the likely
successor.

PTI

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