Gen VK Singh, COAS and the controversies , surrounding him-The fact file.
Gen Singh took over as Army Chief about two years back, A seasoned professional with no nonsense attitude and an utmost honest character. Root route
He took over from Gen Deepak Kapoor who was muddled with “Adarsh Society Scam” and “Sukhna lake” episode. Three Lt Gen rank officers in Sukhna lake episode were indicted. “Sukhna lake” area was under the operational control of EAC, where Gen VK Singh was the Army Cdr prior to being appointed COAS. He was destined & determined to root out corruption from the higher echelons of the army.
It is very prudent out at this stage to recall the days when Gen Roderigues was appointed the COAS in early nineties. His agenda was to root out morally degraded senior officers, where a large no of senior officers were involved with woman, either with brother officer’s wives or the lady officers. He had already identified such senior officers (Brig & above) and asked them to seek voluntary retirement or face the GCM. Nearly a dozen senior officers were made to go home. A message to large fraternity was sent to maintain a good and balanced moral character.
Gen VK Singh lost track of his priority and sole issue became the change of his DOB. At the late stage, this appeared to be unethical and with an ulterior motive. Finally he reached the “Supreme Court and was advised to lay off. He appeared to be a defeated and dejected soldier. This withdrawal gave rize to other issues.
Appointment of DGAR:
Gen VK Singh wanted his man of choice to be appointed to this coveted post. Normally assigned to generals who do not make to Army Cdr (due to residual service criteria) though the appointment enjoys large perks. Govt took their own decision and the appointment was made as per the norms laid down. Gen Singh had to cut a sorry figure and must have felt burnt up.
Foreign trips to Israel & Nepal:
Trip to Israel was cancelled and to Nepal was shortened. Just to refresh the memory right, Moraji Govt had put severe restrictions on the travel of service chiefs to foreign countries. Not only that “Janta Govt” had stopped travel of wives of “Service chiefs even within the country. This restriction was idiosyncratic. As the service chiefs were entitled for a VIP aircraft (from the IAF) dedicated to their travel. These restrictions were lifted by Indira Gandhi when she came back to power. Again severe restrictions were imposed by make shift, “Govt of Deve Gowda” and Gujral. Nothing fishy should be seen by such short term curtailments.
Letter to PM status of the Army
Every service chief towards the fag end of the retirement apprises the govt of the state of the equipment, shortfalls and how these deficiencies would affect the operational preparedness of their arm. However the letter being addressed to the PM rather than the RM, reflected a trust deficit. The more damaging has been the leakage to the press.
Certainly PMO wouldn’t have been a party to this must have been through service Hq. Having known Saiket Datta (with DNA now) for more than a decade now. He was with in “Indian Express Group”, then OUTLOOK for considerable time. Saikat has always believed in capturing such events and news details which can be sensationalized. He has always managed some source or the other to get through to sensitive information.
Movement of Two units during mid Jan.
Movement of units is a very routine exercise in the armed forces. It could be part of the mobility check, ops preparedness or relocating them temporarily. For any such moves the respective command HQ are competent authority It should also be known that para’bde located at Agra is earmarked as a QRF element. They were the one who were allotted and redied to move to “Maledive” on 3 Nov 88. To keep their teeth sharpened such mobility exercise are inescapable essentials.
It is most astonishing and surprising that electronic media (especially Star News) and the print media (DNA & IE) elaborated these issues beyond expectation. It would be desirable that media (Electronic or print) would exercise some restraint rather than engage in sensitizing events to enhance their TRP & reach.