Another battle for next Army Chief



New Delhi: The dust has hardly settled after former Army Chief Gen VK Singh's court battle with the Government when another General is planning to move court to seek elevation as an Army Commander from June 1 which, if accepted, can create a possible succession row in the force.

Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lt Gen Ravi Dastane is planning to file a petition in the Armed Forces Tribunal in this regard in the next few days, his counsel Major SS Pandey said here on Tuesday.

He said Lt Gen Dastane, who has already filed a statutory complaint with the Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh in this regard, is planning to make two main pleas before the Tribunal where he will seek elevation to the rank of Army Commander from June 1 this year retrospectively when two vacancies were existing.

The posts of Western and Eastern Army Commander had fallen vacant on May 31 after the retirement of Gen VK Singh, who was succeeded by Lt Gen Bikram Singh, and the Western Army Commander Lt Gen Shankar Ranjan Ghosh. Lt Gen Bikram Singh had headed the Eastern Command.

The Government had kept the post of Eastern Army Commander vacant for two to three days before Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag was appointed whereas Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachhra was appointed as the Western Army Commander on June 1.

The post was not filled as just before retirement, Gen VK Singh had put Lt Gen Suhag under a discipline and vigilance ban for a failed intelligence operation in Assam but the ban was lifted within 72 hours of Gen Bikram Singh's assuming office.

"On that day, Lt Gen Dastane was also eligible to be elevated as an Army Commander and we will plead before the AFT to give us that appointment," Pandey said.

If the plea is accepted, then Lt Gen Dastane may become senior to Lt Gen Suhag who is expected to succeed Gen Bikram Singh in July 2014 after his retirement.

PTI