NEW DELHI -- The Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, has accused his predecessor, retired General VK Singh, of trying to stall his promotion under false pretensions in 2012. Dalbir Singh was responding to a petition in the Supreme Court that alleged he was made Army Commander not on merit, but as a result of favouritism.
"I was sought to be victimised by the then COAS [General V K Singh]... with the sole purpose of denying me promotion to the appointment of Army Commander," Dalbir Singh has told the apex court, according to a report in The Indian Express. He has also alleged that VK Singh did this "with mysterious design, malafide intent and to arbitrarily punish" him for "extraneous reasons".
According to the report, Dalbir Singh has alleged that VK Singh accused him of lapses in duty during an operation in Jorhat, Assam in December 2011 that were "false, baseless, and imaginary" and put him on a discipline and vigilance (DV) ban in April and May 2012. Dalbir Singh has claimed that he was away on annual leave at the time the operation was carried out.
It was only after VK Singh retired in May 2012 that the DV ban on Dalbir Singh was reversed by the next COAS, General Bikram Singh. Dalbir Singh was then promoted to General Officer Commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Command that year, which the now-retired Lt General Ravi Dastane has challenged in the Supreme Court. According to the Express report, Dastane has claimed he should have been given the position, but Dalbir Singh was favoured over him.
Interestingly, Dalbir Singh has not only challenged Dastane's allegation, but he has he lashed out at VK Singh (who is now Minister of State for External Affairs), the Indian government, and the Ministry of Defence for allowing the "illegal" DV ban to go unpunished, alleging they "were satisfied of gross injustice meted out to me and my honour and military reputation including my innocence."
The Defence Ministry, meanwhile, has told court that the DV ban against Dalbir Singh was, indeed, illegal, reported Express. In its reply, it said, "the entire exercise to issue show cause notice was premeditated and as per records, the directions issued in this regard, including imposition of the DV ban and issue of show cause notice, were found to be illegal."
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