Former Army chiefs ask why govt took no action

Terming Army Chief`s claims of being offered bribe of Rs 14 crore as a "serious matter", two former Army chiefs questioned the govt on inaction.

New Delhi: Terming Army Chief Gen VK Singh`s
claims of being offered bribe of Rs 14 crore to swing a `sub-
standard` defence deal as a "serious matter", two former Army
chiefs today questioned why the government did not take action
when it was reported to the Defence Minister.

Gen (retd) Shankar Roychowdhury wondered what steps the
government had taken so far, while Gen (retd) VP Malik sought
to know why action was not initiated on the spot by either
Singh or Defence Minister AK Antony when it was reported to

"The Army Chief has claimed he had informed the Defence
Minister (of the bribery offer amounting to Rs 14 crore) which
is absolutely a correct step. But what the Defence Ministry
had done so far on this ?" Roychowdhury sought to know.

"As a matter of security for defence forces, you are trying
to compromise with the system," Roychowdhury said, adding the
Chief of the Army Staff is a very prominent person "but at the
same time is a very vulnerable person too".

Malik, on the other hand, said, "Action should have been
taken then. You cannot afford to turn a blind eye or just
laugh it away because it is a far serious matter."

He said, "whenever it was reported to the Defence
Minister, it was responsibility of the Defence Minister as
well as of the Army Chief to take it to its logical

Malik said, "I think the Army Chief should have pursued
the matter and blacklisting of company should have been done
on the spot. You don`t need further investigation on this,
because the matter has been reported by Army Chief himself."

About Antony ordering a CBI probe into the matter,
Roychowdhury asked, "What action did the Defence Ministry take
so far? To whom they talked in the course of investigations,
that is not known. No idea if the government had done anything
on the Army Chief`s allegations even primarily".

Malik also felt that stern action was required. "They
will not go away unless we take very strong, prompt as well as
ruthless action against people who are indulging in it."

The former Army officers` community is "supposed to
strengthen our value system and not destroy it," he said.

Malik lamented that these revelations are "only creating
greater harm to the Army and its morale".

Maj Gen (Retd) Brij Nath Dhar of the first post-
Independence batch of Indian Military Academy Dehradun,
however, put the blame on the entire system for not preventing
the incident.

"I`m not putting the Army alone in the dock. I`m putting
the entire system in the dock for not preventing the rot that
is coming in," he said.

Army Chief Gen VK Singh said in a media interview that
he was offered Rs 14-crore bribe by a lobbyist for clearing
purchase of 600 substandard vehicles.

Caught in a fresh controversy over Army chief`s allegation
of bribe, a stunned Defence Minister ordered a CBI inquiry
into it.