Army chief General VK Singh had not only mentioned 1950 as his year of birth while applying for entry to the National Defence Academy in 1965, but also reaffirmed it four years later in his confidential Indian Military Academy dossier.
This is in stark contrast to Singh’s assertions that 1950 was wrongly entered in his NDA form and the year was not reflected in any other record filled in his own handwriting to show that his date of birth is May 10, 1951.
Documents accessed by HT show that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) form for Singh’s entry to the NDA on July 29, 1965 and the IMA dossier of July 29, 1969 show May 10, 1950 as his date of birth. It is binding on candidates to fill the forms in their own handwriting.
Singh’s argument that his NDA form "was filled as per details given by the school clerk" may not pass muster as the UPSC form clearly stated that "the statements made in the form are true to the best of my knowledge and belief".
With the battlelines drawn between the army chief and the government on his age row, now before the Supreme Court, the repetition of 1950 as his year of birth in the IMA dossier could put Singh’s legal team in a tight spot.
Singh’s confidants argue that his teacher filled his NDA form and the "error" was duplicated in official documents, including ones held by the Military Secretary’s branch.
That contention flies in the face of the IMA dossier filled before Singh was commissioned as an officer in June 1970.
Law ministry officials monitoring the controversy said the army chief in his petition filed in the Supreme Court has not contested the existence of 1950 as his year of birth in the IMA dossier.
Rather, his argument is that he had entered 1950 as his year of birth in the dossier for the sake of "uniform reflection" of facts as mentioned in the UPSC form for admission to the NDA.