Sunday, May 25, 2014

Politician General arrives armed with -

Malice, Vengeance and Opportunism
Karan Kharb

In an article titled ‘Beyond the Olive Branch’, published in Asian Age yesterday, Lt Gen SK Sinha, former Vice Chief of the Army Staff and Governor of Assam and J&K, decries Gen VK Singh’s misdemeanours that have continued to damage the reputation of the Indian Army. Gen Sinha writes, “The credo and tradition of the Indian Army was rubbished by Gen. V.K. Singh after he took over as Army Chief. He went to the Supreme Court against the government over a totally personal and selfish issue. His date of birth as claimed by him may have been correct but he himself contributed to the confusion. Initially, he gave a wrong date of birth, failed to get it amended in time, and gave written certificates thrice accepting the wrong date. No Chief in any country of the world had ever acted so unbecomingly. The Supreme Court rightly rejected his plea. There were other unfortunate actions taken by him which only tarnished the image of the Army. After retirement he made allegations against the Supreme Court judges for which he had to render an unconditional apology in court. Similarly, his bizarre allegation regarding intelligence funds for bribing political leaders in Kashmir was strongly contradicted by all his living predecessors. He was summoned to appear before the Kashmir state legislature.”
Whereas many former Army Chiefs, Army Commanders and veterans share Gen Sinha’s anguish and concern for the Army and the country, most have refrained from making their view public as they think that by joining issues with Gen VK Singh would be like wrestling with the mud. This self-imposed restraint of senior military veterans has in turn emboldened the former Army Chief turned politician to go ahead brazenly spreading canards against the Army and its institutions. Highlighting his unethical, selfish and vindictive dealings Gen Sinha writes, “On retirement, after hobnobbing with Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and even the Aam Aadmi Party, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and got a ticket to fight the election from Ghaziabad. His remarkable performance in getting a majority of over 5 lakh votes, next only to Mr Modi, is no doubt very creditable. No other Army officer in India has after retirement, done so well in elections. We should wish him good luck in his political career. However, he must not pursue his personal vendettas against the Army Chief-designate or continue his desperate efforts to have his samdhi appointed Army Chief.”
               A harder look into the available facts exposes how not only has he stalled the adverse fallout of some of his misdemeanours but also succeeded in reaping undue advantages by shrewdly orchestrating a surfeit of propaganda in his favour to create public sympathy. Army’s tradition of official reticence and self-restraint of many anguished military veterans has allowed his mudslinging campaign to proliferate unchecked. Here’s a sample of how he has avoided getting caught throughout.  
Trail of Misdemeanours/Offences:      
1.      Army Act Section 44 (False answers on enrolment): The fact of the case is that Gen VK Singh gave ‘false answer to the question set out in the Form’ at time of his entry to NDA which is an offence under Army Act section 44.  If he had enrolled as a recruit, he would have been liable to be tried a court martial for this offence. According to legal experts, since there is no ‘Enrolment Form’ in respect of officers, answers given in the Application/Form for admission to NDA/IMA or any other form that becomes the basis of his personal particulars in the service records shall be treated as if these were given in the ‘Enrolment Form’ at the time of enrolment. As per Army Act Section 44, anyone found guilty is liable to be court martialled and sentenced to imprisonment up to five years!
2.      Army Act Section 45 (Unbecoming Conduct): He gave the undertaking accepting the ‘wrong’ date of birth but reneged on it deceitfully soon after benefiting from the same. He then claimed that his 'consent' was extracted from him under duress! How unbecoming of an officer so senior who would be Chief of world’s second largest Army to give in to coercion, temptation or threat! Further, how can an officer or gentleman renege on his own undertaking, which he has written, signed and submitted to his superior authorities at the highest level? This behaviour exposes the chinks in the character that has neither ‘Courage’ nor ‘Conviction’. The conduct would go down in history as most unbecoming of a General of the Indian Army.  As per military law (AA Sec 45), “Any officer, JCO or WO who behaves in a manner unbecoming his position and the character expected of him shall, on conviction by court-martial, if he is an officer, be liable to be cashiered or….” (‘Cashiering’ means ‘Disgraceful dismissal from service’).  
3.      Army Act Section 63 (Violation of good order and discipline): He committed a second misdemeanour under the same section of the Army Act (AA sec 45) and/or AA sec 63 when he went to the Supreme Court challenging the Government on his DoB anomaly.  He submitted before the court that it was a question of his ‘honour’, which must be vindicated by the apex Court accepting his plea. The Supreme Court, however, was not convinced and, fearing an adverse judgement, he quickly withdrew his case without redeeming his ‘honour’! The Government was generously kind to him in not prosecuting him for his un-becoming behaviour (AA Sec 45) and/or ‘violating good order and discipline’ under AA sec 63.
4.      Army Act Section 47: (Ill-treating a Subordinate): We know how a fully uniformed army officer on official duty was publicly humiliated at Gen VK Singh’s residence (20, Mandir Marg, Delhi Cantt)  by his family members. In terms of AA sec 47, the offender is liable to suffer RI for up to seven years. For unnecessarily detaining and/or wrongful restraint/confinement, Army Act section 50 (a) and Section 339 and/or Section 340 of IPC also would be relevant. That an officer would be treated like this in the house of his own erstwhile Army Chief defies human prudence and compassion to comprehend.
5.      Funding/Bribing J&K Politicians: Gen VK Singh is on record having accepted that during his time, the Army in J&K had been doling out cash to the J&K politicians.  It is fair to presume that it had his full approval. If true, he could be in serious trouble even today.  Thankfully, all army officers – serving and retired – who have served in J&K have vehemently denied the preposterous allegation that not only tars Army’s image but endangers national integrity and security.  
It would be ridiculous to suggest that he was a tender boy at that time and filled in a wrong date of birth.  It is even more ridiculous that he did not care to repair the ‘falsehood’ by taking up appropriate action.  Instead, he continued hoodwinking the system by using whichever of the two dates of birth was more beneficial from situation to situation. Even in his final tryst with the Supreme Court, the mention of ‘honour’ was merely a red herring. He continued all along in service letting both the dates hibernate in his records because it gave him a ‘either/or’ flexibility to manoeuvre his ambitions in service – a unique option not available to any other officer! In going to the Court, his only intention was to have the more advantageous of the two date accepted by the Government. To get in, 1950 was more advantageous! To hang on a little more at the top and stymie Gen Bikram Singh’s chances to be the next Army Chief, 1951 was necessary! Where is ‘honour’ in it?  
Recently, in media interviews Gen VK Singh has talked about ‘fake encounters’ ‘botched cases’ and court cases implicating Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. Intriguingly, there is a terrific similarity in the two ‘fake encounter’ cases against the Army filed in different states at different times. One implicating Gen Bikram Singh was filed in the J&K High Court at a time when he was being considered as Gen VK Singh’s successor. Now, just as the name of Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag came up as Gen Bikram’s successor, a case of ‘fake encounter’ was filed implicating him in the Manipur High Court (later, in Guwahati High Court).  Some of the facts that Gen VK Singh has not revealed are as follows:-
(a)    The Dimapur Case: The Dimapur ‘fake encounter’ case relates to March 2010.  Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag assumed command of 3 Corps in March 2011. Maliciously implicated in the said case, his name now stands removed even from the list of Respondents. The fresh list of respondents now includes Army Headquarters/COAS (then Gen VK Singh). Yet, Gen VK Singh has been dragging the name of the Army Chief-designate even as not even an iota of speculation can link Suhag with the case.     
(b)     The Jorhat Case: The Case refers to a search operation by a Captain led search party of 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit in Dec 2011. Theft of some items was later alleged by the residents after the operation was over. A Court of Inquiry was appropriately ordered to enquire into the complaints. It found some allegations true and blamed some individuals who were punished as per law.  The Case was duly transferred to Army by High Court as per law and the progress of Court Martial was monitored by the High Court. The guilty were awarded exemplary punishments ranging from RI and dismissal from service to reprimands, admonishments and recordable displeasure. Final report submitted to the High Court and military dispensation of justice has not been questioned by the honourable High Court. Yet, it has continued to be scandalised at Gen VK Singh’s behest till this day.   
(c)    The so-called ‘Parachute Scam’: The ‘scam’ never happened! Gen VK Singh alleges involvement of Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag in it even as the tender process was cancelled when samples from two Ukranian companies were found too similar. No contract was signed, no orders were placed and no finances involved. The CBI, SFF, R&AW, Cabinet Secretariat – all are satisfied that no irregularities took place. Yet, thanks to Gen VK Singh’s fiction manufacturing skills, a ‘non-issue’ is being hyped in the media as if there were a scandalous ‘scam’!   
(d)    Lt Gen Dastane’s Case:  Like all other insinuations and allegations against the Army Chief-designate, this case too is misleading. Dastane’s claim rests on the plea that being the next senior most Corps Commander after Suhag, he should have been posted as Army Commander Eastern Command on 01 June 2012 because on that day Suhag was under DV Ban in the last week of May 2012 by Gen VK Singh. That the DV Ban was a product of malice and sinister design is too evident from the manner in which it was frenetically imposed by Gen VK Singh at the fag-end of his tenure in office in the last week of May 2012. The DV Ban was found unjustified and rightly revoked later. Having lost his case at the Armed Forces Tribunal (Principal Bench, New Delhi), Lt Gen Ravi Dastane has gone in appeal to the Supreme Court. A pertinent question arises: Was Suhag placed under DV Ban to make way for Dastane?
As hinted by Gen SK Sinha in his article, if Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is removed from the way, Lt Gen Ashok Singh currently GOC-in-C Southern Command and Samdhi of Gen VK Singh becomes the next pick to be Chief of the Army Staff. A question arises: Will the Modi Sarkar allow this kind of intrigue to succeed? An even bigger question gasps: What will happen of the military command and morale if Gen VK Singh is saddled in a position to meddle with defence affairs?
Agencies like CBI, CVC, IB and a number of other government departments have found no truth in allegations against the Army Chief-designate. We must also believe that performance of these agencies has not been always as poor as it is often made out to be, a few question marks on their functioning style notwithstanding. If hiding or creating evidence was that easy, they would have hanged Narendra Modi long ago. But no blot from the relentless smear campaign and false cases filed against him stuck on his spotless character and bold performance.  On the flipside too, if the UPA Government could hide their own corruption and misdeeds, no scams would have come to light. Therefore, while it is grossly unfair and undesirable to tarnish the reputation of the Army and its institutions, it is equally laudable that Lt Gen Suhag has emerged spotlessly clean having endured so much of this maligning campaign.   


  1. law should be respected & no personal bias in system should ever erupt, honour & dignity of army should be maintained , no one should dilute it

  2. And the civil bureaucracy the MPs and all those who were occupying the chairs in that temple of Democracy can continue fooling the masses for 10 years , with a foot note, that the power lied somewhere else and the CEO was helpless. Those who are silent on this need not be heard on any such matters as this smacks of a bias , tilting of the pendulum on one side. Sheer Time Waste

    1. He is unique in the world. no man in the world can maintain two birth dates , one for pension of COAS & other for salary of MP. now he will require TWO PAN cards also [ no one can have two pan cards ] one for IT return for pension DOB & other for MP salary DOB .as on line only one DOB can be accepted,,

  3. Anonymous1:33 am

    Our generals have becoming schemers and manipulators with VK Singh excelling all of them in those qualities. Fooling BJP in giving him a ticket is his last master stroke as BJP has already found out the truth about him. Alas, his Samdhi will have to retire only with three stars.

    1. He is unique in the world. no man in the world can maintain two birth dates , one for pension of COAS & other for salary of MP. now he will require TWO PAN cards also [ no one can have two pan cards ] one for IT return for pension DOB & other for MP salary DOB .as on line only one DOB can be accepted,,

  4. He is unique in the world. no man in the world can maintain two birth dates , one for pension of COAS & other for salary of MP. now he will require TWO PAN cards also [ no one can have two pan cards ] one for IT return for pension DOB & other for MP salary DOB .as on line only one DOB can be accepted,,