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Rediff.com  » News » EXCLUSIVE! I am not army chief's chum: Lt Gen Singh

EXCLUSIVE! I am not army chief's chum: Lt Gen Singh

Last updated on: March 28, 2012 14:26 IST

I am not army chief's chum: Lt Gen Singh

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Sheela Bhatt
Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt caught up with Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh (retd), who has been accused of allegedly offering army chief General V K Singh a bribe of Rs 14 crore in September 2010 for an arms deal.

"This is all kite flying," says Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh (retd) when Rediff.com asks him about a newspaper report linking him with a Union minister's son with regard to influencing weapons procurement deals for the Indian military.

General Tejinder Singh has been accused of allegedly offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore (Rs 140 million) to the Chief of the Army Staff, General V K Singh in September 2010 for an arms deal.

While denying the charges, General Tejinder Singh has filed a defamation case against the army chief.

General V K Singh did not name General Tejinder Singh in his controversial interviews this week. But on Tuesday Defence Minister A K Antony mentioned General Tejinder Singh's name, saying that the army chief had informed him then that General Tejinder Singh had offered him a bribe.

This makes the matter very serious, one which cannot be pushed under the carpet any more.

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Image: Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh (retd)


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'Why would I offer him money when I am quite junior to him?'

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According to a column published in the Sunday Guardian newspaper, Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh is 'not an unknown figure within the world of suppliers of equipment.'

Quoting an unnamed source, the columnist alleged that Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh 'operates in tandem' with a retired Major Hooda and his son, both of whom are well known to a Union minister's son.

"I am not a bum chum of army chief V K Singh. We are not even friends. I am just his professional colleague. Why would I offer him money when I am quite junior to him?" Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh asked.

"I have nothing to hide," he says. "I am ready for the CBI inquiry. I have no idea why General V K Singh is talking like this, but you should check if he is trying to divert attention. Why does he want to create a controversy at this point of time?"

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Image: Army chief General V K Singh. Inset: Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh (retd)


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'I have no link with any arms company'

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Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh is obviously very upset and disturbed by the turn of events.

His problem is compounded by the fact that the army chief's allegation is too serious and intriguing to ignore.

He has been accused of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the army chief to ensure procurement of sub-standard trucks.

This, in other words, means that Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh was doing something against the interests of the Indian Army, its soldiers and the country he once swore to defend to his last breath.

The charge is more than just one of corruption; it is one of being unpatriotic.

Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh staunchly denies any links with arms dealers in the country.

He told Rediff.com, "I have no link with any arms company. I have never worked for any of them. It can easily be established that I have never worked for any company."

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Image: A Russian-made Kraz truck


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'Is the army chief trying to divert attention from the snooping done in the Raksha Mantri's office?'

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Before his retirement from the Indian Army two years ago, Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh headed the Defence Intelligence Agency.

"The Tatra is working under a government-owned company. Why would I offer a bribe for it? I am neither a friend of the army chief nor his bum chum. Yes, it is true that I did not support his claim of his date of birth. In that controversy, I opposed him because I followed the Supreme Court, which gave a verdict on his birth date contrary to his claims."

Asked about the motive behind the army chief's allegations, Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh says, "I don't know. You should ask him. I can give you a hypothesis. Is he trying to divert attention from the snooping done in the Raksha Mantri's office? You should find out."

"You should also find out why he was quiet since September 2010," Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh adds. "Why did he not say anything on the issue when he was doing the drama about his birth date? I can't say anything. You should find out. Since his claim on his age was not accepted, he was upset."

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Image: The defence ministry in New Delhi


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'I met him for a posting in the intelligence outfit'

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It is obvious that Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh and army chief General V K Singh are targeting each other.

An army press release issued a few days ago named Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh for planting news reports on the alleged bugging of Defence Minister A K Antony's office.

Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh accepts meeting the army chief in September 2010 to get himself re-employed.

"I met him for a posting in the intelligence outfit," reveals Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh. "The army was looking for an officer of the rank of lieutenant general."

Asked about the impact of the ugly controversy on the Indian Army's morale, Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh acknowledges, "We have never seen things like this."


Image: Army chief General V K Singh


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