New Delhi, March 29: The Army Chief Gen V K Singh has dropped another scam bomb, by forwarding to the CBI on Wednesday a letter from Trinamool Congress MP Ambika Banerjee levelling corrupting charges against a serving Lt. Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, presently commanding the Dimapur-based 3 Corps, and is in line after Lt gen Bikgram Singh to become the next Army Chief, The Indian Express reported.
The Army Chief's direct forwarding of the MP's letter to the CBI is set to open another can of worms. The letter was written in May 2011.
For, the MP has alleged widespread “procurement scams” in the “secretive” Special Frontier Force — when Lt Gen Dalbir Singh was its Inspector General — including alleged payoffs for the purchase of night-vision devices, communication systems, weapons as well as parachutes.
The SFF is under the administrative control of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), the country's premier foreign intelligence agency.
The MP also named Army officers, including a former Army Chief, who he alleged received crores in kickbacks for defence procurements and amassed “huge” disproportionate assets. Banerjee named agents who he claims dealt with these procurements.
The Army Chief's latest “complaint'' reached the CBI headquarters barely a day after a team from the agency visited his office to begin a “comprehensive” probe into the bribery charges made by him against Lt Gen Tejinder Singh.
In a covering letter signed by General Singh, he asked the CBI to look into Banerjee's allegations.
The timing of the MP's two-page letter being sent by the Chief — just under a year after it was written to the Prime Minister and Defence Minister A K Antony — is significant given the fact that General Singh is known to be opposed to the appointment of Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as one of the Army Commanders while the Ministry of Defence is backing it.
In his note, the Army Chief has claimed that the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of a senior Army officer who was on deputation to the SFF was downgraded by Lt Gen Dalbir Singh — who was then Major General — because the officer did not “succumb'' to pressure of a cartel which wanted to sell parachutes to the force.
The Army Chief has not named this officer but has said that he received a representation from him.
Trinamool Congress MP Ambika Banerjee confirmed he had written such a letter to the Defence Minister last year.
He said: “I had received a response from the Ministry of Defence that the allegations would be inquired into but I have not heard from the Government ever since.''
The CBI will, evidently, contact the Ministry of Defence. With the SFF being under R&AW's administrative control, the CBI may have to deal with the Cabinet Secretariat.
First, it was the alleged offer of a Rs 14-crore bribe for the purchase of trucks that he attributed to his former colleague Lt General Tejinder Singh.
Then, he sent a letter to the Prime Minister on what he called were glaring gaps in the Army. With the latest forwarding of the Trinamool Congress MP's letter to the CBI, the Army Chief has literally opened up a can of worms.