No vendetta against Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag: Army chief
In an exclusive Interview with CNN-IBN, Army Chief General V K Singh clears his stand on the fresh controversy regarding the show cause notice to Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag and the related succession issue.
Suhag, who is likely to be the army chief after two years, has been served a notice for alleged lapses in an operation carried out by an intelligence unit under him in Assam last year.
Transcripts of the interview:
On censure motion against Lt Gen Suhag
I don't think there is a censure motion that has been passed, but a show cause notice was given. There is no vendetta against Lt Gen Suhag and this is no witch-hint. Why is everybody is crying hoax? Why should a simple show cause notice from a senior officer to a junior officer find its way into the media? I find it funny; I find it morally unacceptable.
On Lt Gen Suhag's conduct
It was a personal communication between the officer and me. Why did it find its way to the media? First he should reply to the notice, and then see what happens rather than crying hoax. He should have the moral courage to reply to it before going to media. I've got no prestige attached to this issue.
On keeping the army chief designate in loop
The court of inquiry comes from the Eastern Command. The problem is people have started reading unnecessarily too much.
Image: Army chief Gen V K Singh
'Army in a much better state, more transparent'
On opposition to the line of succession
There is no line of succession in the army. Lt Gen Bikram Singh has been designated as the next army chief, where is the doubt. Why are we reading beyond that?
On the army being divided
The army in a much better state. It's much more transparent. There is a sense of confidence among army men. We have achieved goals that we had set. We have addressed issues that that have never been addressed earlier. In a million-strong army there will always be a voice of dissent.
Image: Soldiers perform during a wreath laying ceremony at a war memorial during Vijay Diwas
'Tejinder Singh has a devious mind'
On Lt Gen Tejinder Singh's CD containing VVIP conversation
Lt Gen Tejinder Singh is planting false stories. Here is a man with a great devious mind and he can concoct anything as the truth, but that will never be the truth.
On inaction in 'offering of bribe' issue
What action was to be taken? The defence services regulation says that you must inform the matter to your senior. In this case Defence Minister (A K Antony) was informed. He acknowledged it and I told him that this particular deal will not go through. I had his blessings and the deal did not go through.
Nobody refuses a senior. Let's leave it at that. If somebody had asked me to take action, be rest assured action would have been taken. The procedural action was within the purview of the Ministry of Defence.
Image: Army chief has accused Lt Gen Tejinder Singh of offering him a bribe
'Antony handled the bribe row with great maturity, sagacity'
On the defence minister's approach towards the bribe row
I think Antony has taken action. He has ordered a CBI inquiry. It could have been done earlier. I've faith in the defence minister; he is an honourable man. He has handled the situation with great maturity and sagacity.
On action against Lt Gen Avdesh Prakash
I've not taken any action. The Sukna issue came to the fore and the officer was indicted. There was a general court martial. The court took a decision and we have respected that decision.
Image: Defence Minister A k Antony
'I took V K Singh to the court not the Chief of Army Staff'
On the age row
The age issue came up sometime in January- February. If it was such a concern it should have come up in 2010 when I took over. It came up because a RTI was filed. The age issue was raked up as a defence for an officer who has been court martialed in Sukna scam. There was an age issue and I did not solve it. Thus he was vindictive.
Everybody knows I'm talking about Advdesh Prakash; he has lost his rank.
Even when the age issue came up, I asked the defence minister if he wanted me to go. The chief's chair was never been something I was running after.
On taking govt to court
No promotion is dependent on age or date of birth. You go as per seniority and the selection board results. All my promotions have been done keeping in mind the particular date of birth, which I stand by.
Once the issue came to fore I told the defence minister that all over the country the matriculation certificate is the basis of age. My certificate is with the record-keeping branch of the army. I just want this to be accepted. I did not talk about tenure.
On withdrawing the petition
The SC gave no decision. They tried to arbitrate the matter. Then I realised that you are fighting a system. Therefore, there was no point in pursuing the matter. I was always fighting for honour and integrity. If that is achieved, I don't need anything more.
On stepping down after the SC verdict
How did it become such a big prestige issue? I devoted the least possible time to the personal issue (age row). I took V K Singh to the court not the Chief of Army Staff to the court. There is a difference.
Image: The Supreme Court upheld the government decision on Gen Singh's age issue and said he cannot resile on his commitment accepting the date of birth as May 10, 1950, forcing him to withdraw his petition
'Army has not leaked letter to PM'
On his relationship with the army
This controversy has not affected my relationship with the army or the defence minister. I admire the honesty of the defence minister and the way he stood by the army.
On the leak of letter to PM
Either the people are naive or they are stupid. There is nothing beyond that. They must understand how the army functions. The letter is not typed in the army chief's office. It is handled by a particular branch. It is handled by an officer and he gets it signed. He takes the file back and locks it up. How will the letter be leaked by the army. Why should a person who is writing this letter leak it?
Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh
'I have no political ambitions, no offer from Anna Hazare'
On the Tatra deal
Tejinder Singh told me about the deal and the money that I would get if I cleared it. I informed the defence minister and ensured that the deal for those particular vehicles did not get through.
The whole issue is being handled by the CBI. I'm sure they will come out with a worthwhile conclusion.
On political ambition
I feel sad if people come to the conclusion that if you go to unveil the statue of a former PM means one has political ambitions. It was a function for ex- servicemen.
R K Anand was releasing a book on the military and he requested me to attend its launch. I went for courtesy's sake. I don't know if it was an anti- government platform. Today everything seems to be anti government.
I don't have the time to think of all this (joining civil society groups fighting corruption). Moreiver, I have received no direct offer from Anna Hazare. Going to such functions means nothing to me at all.
Are things in disarray for the next army chief
I don't think so. For the last three months we have tried to put a system in place to brief him properly. It has been done very systematically. I'm quite sure that he will not find things in disarray.
Image: Anna Hazare