Indian Army Chief tampers with his age

Times Of India

Retired Indian Army officers on Monday asked for an independent and transparent probe into what chief of army staff General V K Singh’s year of birth should be.

“While the age issue was never brought before me, I believe it is inconceivable that a UPSC form was accepted without any corroboration of the year of birth being 1950, as is mentioned in the Std X class certificate,” said Major General (Retd) Nalinder Kumar, who served as judge advocate-general from 2001 to 2008.

“It is also strange that a claim of the year of birth being 1951 was made almost four decades later, when rules stipulate that any discrepancy in the date of birth (DoB) should be rectified within 2 years of becoming an officer.

The unnecessary controversy at a post as high as that of the army chief, which is a institution in itself , does not speak well of the army’s and the government’s management. If the government is keen to inspire confidence, it should have an agency, not connected to the defence ministry, carry out an independent and transparent probe,” Kumar added.

Major General (Retd) Afsir Karim said the controversy should be resolved at the earliest as it was only affecting the morale of the fighting forces. “Whether 1950 or 1951, the confusion would not have arisen had the military secretary and AG’s branch cross-checked their records when Singh got his first promotion as Lt Colonel . A decision should be taken soon as it reflects on the issue of succession,” Karim said.

The issue of General Singh’s DoB arose when the law ministry accepted Singh’s DoB as May 10, 1951, ignoring documents that showed his DoB as May 10, 1950. These include a reiteration of the 2008 commitment made by Singh in November 2009 accepting 1950 as his DoB, his IMA dossier (filled up by him in January 1969), the Army List (1974-75 ) and recruiting branch particulars verified by the Intelligence Bureau. The law ministry , in its opinion dated February 14, said the 1950 entry appeared only in Singh’s NDA form and ignored the other documents that have been verified by the police.

The army refused to reply to a written query from TOI, seeking the army chief’s perspective on the issue.


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