New Delhi, Jun 12: The Army lost a lot of its sheen and the environment became “vitiated” due to the “unsavory” age row episode involving former Army Chief General V K Singh, says his predecessor General(retd) J J Singh.
In his first comments on the controversy over Gen Singh's age issue, Gen J J Singh also rejected as “malicious and incorrect” comments made against him regarding an alleged “succession plan” in the Army.
In his autobiography ‘A Soldier's General', General J J Singh, presently the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, said the age issue which dogged Gen Singh's tenure should have been handled with “utmost discretion, sans the unsavoury media hype”.
“What is certain is that the organization that we cherish so much has lost a lot of its sheen,” he wrote in the autobiography which was released by Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh here recently.
Stating that the insinuations against him in the age row has “deeply appalled and angered him”, Singh wrote, “This entire episode has left a sour taste and vitiated the environment of the Army in particular and the ripple effect has been felt by the Navy and Air Force too.”
On the controversy and comments such as that of “succession plan”, he said, “These (comments) are loaded with dangerous portents that can play havoc with the secular and apolitical fabric of the great institution that we have given the best part our lives to, and also cause incalculable harm to the nation as well.”
On the issue of not expressing his views on the matter so far, Gen Singh said, “I had so far maintained a stoic silence on the unfortunate controversy as the matter was sub-judice.”
“Comments made against me recently that this issue was raked up by me in 2006 with a ‘succession plan' and parochial agenda in mind are preposterous, malicious and incorrect,” the General added.
Gen J J Singh termed the PIL filed by “Army Chief's (General V K Singh) advisors or well wishers” as “motivated and utterly malicious”.
The General further recalled that the “age row has its genesis with the contradictory dates of births entered in the threshold documents submitted by the general officer (V K Singh) himself in the mid 1960s.
The issue first came to light during the tenure of General J J Singh, who was Army Chief between January 2005 and September 2007. Gen Deepak Kapoor took over from Gen J J Singh and was succeeded by Gen V K Singh.
On developments over the issue during his tenure, he said, “There was neither an exchange of correspondence directly between the officer concerned and me, nor did he represent or complain against the decision of the Army HQ at that time.”
In case the officer (General V K Singh) has any reservations against the decision, he was free to take up the matter with the Army HQ or the Defence Ministry by means of non-statutory or statutory complaint and have the matter resolved one way or the other, Gen J J Singh said.
“Rationally speaking, he should have done so but for reasons best known to him, he chose not to raise the issue then,” he added.
Gen J J Singh has also cited the examples of Lt Generals P S Bhagat and S K Sinha, who were superseded in the race for the Army Chief's appointment, but they accepted the decision of the government with dignity and grace.