Not willing to give up on the age issue, General V K Singh has filed a statutory complaint with the defence minister seeking a reexamination, in a first by an army chief.
Singh filed the complaint with Defence Minister A K Antony under the Army Act on Friday asking him to take a decision on his date of birth purely on basis of merit and available evidence. However, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said, "Where is the controversy? The ministry has looked into the issue and has given an opinion."
Defence ministry sources said the complaint was filed by army chief against the ministry's decision to treat May 10, 1950 as Singh's date of birth instead of May 10, 1951 as maintained by him.
"I think the view taken by the ministry is known. You already know the view the minister has taken," Raju told reporters outside Parliament House. When asked whether the chief of army staff was upset over the ministry's decision to fix his year of birth as 1950, Raju said, "I cannot comment on that, but with whatever information ministry has taken a view. Why are you making it into a controversy?"
Meanwhile, Defence Minister A K Antony refused to comment on the issue. He asked about the statutory complaint filed by army chief. As per army rules, the reply to the complaint must be filed within 90 days of it being received by Minister\'s office.
The defence ministry had on July 22, decided to fixed his date of birth as May 10, 1950 on the basis of opinions given by the attorney general and the law ministry. The complaint filed by Singh, along with the documents he has annexed to support his claim, runs into almost 500 pages and includes all the previous correspondences with the ministry on this issue.
The controversy on Singh's age surfaced in 2008 when he was considered to be appointed as eastern army commander. The adjutant general's branch- the official record keeper for salary and pension- has been following 1951 as Singh's DoB, while the MS branch, which looks after promotions and postings, shows it as 1950. Singh is slated to retire on June 1, 2012, but if the other date of birth is accepted, he may remain in office for another ten months.