Union minister VK Singh triggered a controversy on Wednesday when he said the “mental state” of the ex-serviceman, who allegedly committed suicide over pension issues, needs to be probed before drawing conclusions.
“He has committed suicide. No one knows the reason behind it. Orop (one rank one pension) is being shown as the reason. What his mental state was we do not know. Let it be probed first. Orop should be kept above politics,” Singh told reporters, reacting to the death of retired soldier Ram Kishan Grewal.
The 70-year-old veteran, his friends alleged, was unhappy as the one rank one pension scheme had failed to meet his expectations. Though Orop was rolled out in September 2015, ex-servicemen say it has failed to address their concerns.
But Singh went on to state that the Centre had accepted the long-pending demands of the agitating veterans and there was no need to get into “what one is saying for paisa”.
Singh’s comments drew sharp reactions from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress.
“Shame on u VKSingh. He twice got medals from President and once from COAS. He was a decorated soldier,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Senior Congress leader RPN Singh said it was “unbecoming” of a former army chief to bring the mental state of a deceased veteran into question.
“It is unfortunate that a former army chief is raising such questions,” the former Union minister said.