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Army and defence ministry lock horns

The controversy over army chief General VK Singh's date of birth (DoB) refuses to die with the defence ministry and the army still at the loggerheads over the issue.

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2011 01:43 IST
HT Correspondent

The controversy over army chief General VK Singh's date of birth (DoB) refuses to die with the defence ministry and the army still at the loggerheads over the issue.

In a latest, the adjutant general's (AG) branch has questioned the legality of the defence ministry's July 21 directive which stated that Singh will not be allowed to change his DoB from 1950 to 1951.

The AG's branch, which maintains personnel records, has asked the defence ministry for an explanation regarding legal documents it has relied upon in fixing Singh's DoB as May 10, 1950 and not May 10, 1951.

Singh will have to retire next May on turning 62, going by the DoB ratified by defence minister AK Antony, after being cautioned twice by the law ministry that any change in his year of birth would violate army rules and lead to unnecessary litigation. But if 1951 is taken as Singh's DoB, he will retire in 2013.

Eastern Army commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh is expected to replace Gen Singh if he retires next year. However, the top job will go to Lt Gen KT Parnaik if Singh were to retire in 2013. Four former chief justices and a former solicitor general have backed Singh's claim.

The controversy arose in May 2006 when conflicting DoBs of Singh were detected in the records of the Military Secretary's branch (1950) and Adjutant General's branch (1951).

Singh's National Defence Academy records show his DoB as May 10, 1950, but his matriculation certificate puts it at May 10, 1951.