Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh, whose last days in office were marred by a legal battle with the government in the Supreme Court, has sought to drag the Prime Minister's Office over his age row and the Tatra truck scandal saying a senior bureaucrat there was "orchestrating" the issues.
He has claimed in his in his just-released autobiography 'Courage and Convictions' that media appeared to be wanting him out of office after the second hearing in the age case that came as a "big blow". But he continued as army chief after he met the then President Pratibha Patil who told him to "carry on with the work you are doing", the general says without taking any names of those he was attacking.
Referring to the controversy relating to the Tatra truck deal he says the name of a PMO official was "cropping up regularly" and his relatives had been given plots in the BEML complex -- the PSU assembling Tatra trucks in India. "There was little doubt that a very senior bureaucrat in the PMO had been was orchestrating the entire age issue. Ever since I blocked the Tatra files, the name of the person had been cropping up regularly.”
"Not only was he involved directly with the PSUs where the direct evidence linking him to plots given to his family in the BEML complex, almost every move of the government seemed to have originated from the same shadowy quarters," Gen Singh says.
The former army chief claimed that the senior bureaucrat was also dropping hints that the "age issue had been raked up by one of the former chiefs at the behest of the wife of a very important political personality." He said he was advised by those in the know of the procurement business on the Tatra truck deal that "do not ask too many questions. The trail goes right up to a very high official in the PMO."
"There were murmurings that the relatives of a senior PMO bureaucrat had been given plots in the BEML housing society and the son of a top official at the Planning Commission had been living in the BEML guest rooms for more than a year," he has written. Singh alleges that all PSUs including BEML function in a manner that denies logic.
"The government wants them to show profits, which is impossible if they follow normal trade practices. Hence over the years, they have devised a methodology of fictitious pricing to enable them to do so. Nobody else in their right mind would accept these rates, so the armed forces are their bunnies through the bureaucrats," he said.