Army chief Dalbir Singh has accused Union minister VK Singh of imposing an “illegal ban” under “false, baseless and imaginary allegations” when the latter was heading India’s army in 2012, the Indian Express reported on Thursday.
Dalbir Singh told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that VK Singh victimised him with the sole purpose of “denying” him promotion to the appointment of army commander. This is the first time a serving army chief has publicly attacked one of his predecessors.
“False, baseless and imaginary allegations of lapses were levelled against me in the show cause notice” of May 19, 2012 and consequent imposition of an “illegal” discipline and vigilance (DV) ban,” the army chief stated in his affidavit, the report said. Hindustan Times could not independently corroborate the allegations.
The affidavit was filed in response to a petition that alleged favouritism in Dalbir Singh’s selection as army commander.
VK Singh slapped a DV ban on Dalbir Singh between April and May 2012 for alleged “failure of command and control” in an operation in Assam’s Jorhat in 2011.
But the ban was lifted in June that year by General Vikram Singh – who took over the army after VK Singh retired on May 31, 2012. Dalbir Singh was appointed as commander of the eastern command soon after.
This isn’t the first time General VK Singh’s tenure as army chief has stirred a controversy. Earlier in 2012, VK Singh moved the Supreme Court to change his birth date in army records – a move that would allow him more time at the helm.
But his request was rejected by the apex court that held that the general had given an undertaking to the government to abide by his May 10, 1950 birth date. Since then, the BJP parliamentarian and minister has also been in the news over a string of controversial statements, most notably, calling journalists “presstitutes”.
“Directions for initiating administrative action against me… smacks of a motivated, biased, arbitrary and malicious intent to punish me which the then chief of army staff executed apparently as planned by him,” read Dalbir Singh’s affidavit.
Dalbir Singh further said that the government and the defence ministry were satisfied of the “gross injustice”. The ministry, in an earlier affidavit, censured the manner in which VK Singh had placed Dalbir Singh under the DV ban saying “the entire exercise was premeditated and as per records, the directions issued in this regard, including imposition of the DV ban, were found to be illegal”, the report said.