‘Defence Ministry was leaking info to fix me’

Last Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2012 - 00:14

New Delhi: Five days before his controversial 26-month tenure as Army Chief comes to an end, Gen V K Singh on Saturday voiced criticism of the defence ministry for "selectively leaking" information to "fix" him.

In a series of interviews to TV channels, the General also made no no secret of his unhappiness with the Supreme Court where he lost a legal battle over his age in February.

In an apparent reference to a remark by Justice R M Lodha, one of the two judges on the bench that heard his case, the Chief said that a very senior apex court judge had told him to "blow with the wind".

"If all of us are going to blow with the wind then we will all become muggers, we will all become corrupt," he said, according to a transcript of his interview released by a private TV channel.

Justice Lodha had actually remarked, "wise men are those who move with the wind. We take pride in having (an) officer like you. Credit must go to you."

In a separate interview to a private TV channel, the Army Chief said that he had withdrawn his petition on the age issue because the Supreme Court gave no no decision. "They tried to arbitrate. Then I realised that you are fighting a system."

During the interviews, Singh said it was not not "just lobbies" working against him, but "some people are trying to protect people who are basically doing wrong things."

Turning on the Ministry of Defence, he said that papers related to his age were "illegitimately" released. Some papers that should never have been released under RTI rules were released and this included a couple of pages which the ministry itself had labelled "top secret".

Asked if he was saying that he had been set up, the General replied, "obviously".

When pressed to state as to who was releasing the information, Singh replied that it was the ministry.

"Absolutely," the General answered when asked whether he was saying that information was being selectively leaked to "fix you".
Barely concealing his anger over the leakage of his
letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining of deficiencies and shortages in the army, the General said this was a "treasonable act".

He then referred to a PTI story, denied by the government, that a Joint Secretary-level officer in the Cabinet Secretariat had been held responsible for the leak.

The General said that PTI does not not "manufacture" stories on its own. "So somebody must have told them, somebody authoritative enough".

The leakage was done "with a purpose to create an impression that Gen V K Singh is leaking it", he said, adding, somebody within the government "had some agenda".

Asked if he would get into politics after he demits office on May 31, the Chief replied, "I haven`t decided anything."

Told about the speculation that he may join Yogaguru Ramdev, Singh replied " I don`t think so. All this is speculative kite flying, to say the least. And I will not go with this kite flying."

Referring to his allegation that retired Lt General
Tejinder Singh had offered him bribe to clear a deal for Tatra trucks, the Army Chief said he had informed Defence Minister A K Antony as per the Services regulations.

Apparently questioning inaction by Antony then, the General said, "He (Antony) has ordered a CBI inquiry. It could have been done earlier."

On inaction on his own part, he said, "If he (Antony) had asked me to take action, action would have been taken. Be rest assured about it."

He, however, went on to add that because of Antony`s "blessings" the file regarding the procurement of Tatra trucks was not cleared.
With regard to the controversy over his show cause notice to 3 Corps Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, the Army Chief criticised its leakage and suggested his involvement in it.

"Who else will go (to the media)? The notice was signed by me and it is in the name of the officer (Suhag). Who else will handle it?... It was his responsibility to answer that show cause notice.... But without giving an answer, somebody goes to the press and shows the show cause notice," Gen Singh said when asked whether he suspected Suhag of having leaked the notice.

He said it was "morally unacceptable that a notice from a senior officer to a junior officer has found its way into media and started getting discussed".

Gen Singh has since put Suhag, who could head the force in 2014 by the current succession line, on Disciplinary and Vigilance (DV) ban, by which his promotion would be stalled.

Asked what if the government overturns his decision to put Suhag on DV ban, he said, "it will be government`s decision, not mine. People will hold the government responsible for it."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 20:47

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