Plea in SC against Bikram Singh as Army Chief
A plea has been filed against Army Chief-designate Lt General Bikram Singh in the Supreme Court.
New Delhi: It seems there is no end to troubles for the Indian Army. After a host of controversies dogged Army Chief General VK Singh for several weeks, now a plea has been filed against Army Chief-designate Lt General Bikram Singh in the Supreme Court.
The petition seeks stay on Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s elevation to the top post in the Army.
According to reports, the plea has been filed by several people, including former Navy Chief Admiral LN Ramdas and ex-Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswami.
The petitioners have contended that Lt Gen Bikram Singh should be stopped from being made the Army Chief as his appointment to top post has been made under political influence.
The plea goes on to say that the General was involved in a fake encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001 and that the Army had conducted an internal enquiry into his involvement in a sexual harassment case.
The Defence Ministry, responding to a similar petition filed earlier in the J&K High Court, had said that the encounter in which Lt Gen Bikram Singh got injured in 2001 was not fake.
"... the allegations of fake encounter after 10 years of the incident are a mere afterthought, misleading, mischievous and motivated. The petitioners are levelling false allegations without any basis," the ministry had told the High Court.
Lt Gen Singh was then a brigadier commanding the 1 Sector Rashtriya Rifles in South Kashmir. The alleged encounter took place in Anantnag.
The HC had then cleared Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s name.
As regards the sexual harassment case, it involves an Army Court of Inquiry (CoI) that was tasked to examine claims whether 51 soldiers were guilty of sexual misconduct while being posted as part of a UN peacekeeping mission to Congo in 2008.
The soldiers were accused of rape and also fraternising with the local population, something which is banned under the Indian military law and the UN code of conduct. Lt Gen Bikram Singh was the head of the Congo mission for a part of the period.
The CoI had ruled out rape but relationships (with Congolese women) were found true – they were either paid for or were consensual.