The Army on Thursday ordered a probe into the "leakage" of documents related to the age of Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh, an issue which has generated a lot of controversy in the media.
Sources declined to give the designation of the official who would conduct the inquiry nor whether any time-frame has been set up but it is understood that it would be done by an officer of the rank of Major General.
The inquiry will look into the source of leakage of documents. The age-related documents of top Army officers are generally held in the custody of the Military Secretary and could have been leaked prior to the taking over of the present incumbent.
The controversy over Army Chief's age resurfaced after the Law Ministry gave an opinion that his date of birth was May 10, 1951 as it was there in his matriculation certificate and not May 10, 1950 as filled in his UPSC form.
For replying to an RTI application, the Army had sought Law Ministry's opinion for determining the basis for Army Chief's age.
The Army chief's date of birth varied in the records of the Adjutant General's and Military Secretary's branches. The AG branch, the official record keeper for salary and pension, has May 10, 1951 as Singh's date of birth but the Military Secretary's (MS) branch, in charge of promotions and postings, records his date of birth as May 10, 1950.
Gen Singh is supposed to retire on June 1, 2012 but if the other date of birth is accepted, he may get another ten months in office. As per rules, an Army Chief can serve for three years or up to the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
The issue will also determine as to who will succeed Gen Singh in office if he retires in June 2012, Lt Gen Bikram Singh will be the most-likely successor and if he gets an extension, Lt Gen K T Parnaik would be the likely successor.