It’s for the first time in the annals of independent history that an Army Chief of India has hogged the media limelight with controversies as General VK Singh.
First he was in news with controversy surrounding over his date of birth. The issue was contested in the highest court of the country and after a long drawn legal battle the matter was settled.
Even as one thought that every thing have hit the dust, the Army Chief dropped a bombshell that he was offered bribe of Rs 14 crore for inducting sub standard truck into the Indian Army.
This really shocked the nation. First, that the Indian Army Chief can be bribed and national security can be compromised was something that can not be thought off by the citizen of the country.
The second point was if the bribery story is true, it reveals the fact how deep corruption has made inroads into the Army. The highest officer of the Army is if so susceptible, then what to talk about the lower officers who guard the national security. This is something that is really worrying the nation.
Even as the investigative agencies have taken up the bribery allegation made by General VK Singh, his purported letter to the Prime Minister where he talks about the shallow defence preparedness of the Indian Army had surfaced.
His letter is a cane of worms and much muck has been allowed to fly with that. To some, this could be an act of whistle blowing and a service to the nation, but many patriots are hurt by his revelations. It would have been better if such controversial letter could have been kept under the wraps of national security.
As if all this was not enough about General VK Singh, the fourth story on him was reported in ‘The Indian Express.’ The report said that the government was “spooked” on the night of January 16-17, because of the movement of a mechanized infantry battalion from Hisar with a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade, towards Delhi, the day Army Chief approached the Supreme Court on the age issue row.
Indian Prime Minister and the Defence Minister has stoutly denied the report calling it as ‘untrue’ and the Army Chief saying it as ‘stupid,’ nevertheless underlines the fact that the wedge between the Army and the government is growing. All this is not a healthy sign.
Never ever in the history of independent India an Army Chief has created so much of controversy. The citizens of the country are panicked by the issues raised by General VK Singh. It would be better if the Prime Minister or the Defence Minister may come up with the statement allaying the fears of the nation.
The final point, whether India can afford a loud mouth General? If we go by the precedent, Naval Chief Vishnu Bhagwat was sacked the moment he had a tiff off with then Defence Minister George Fernandez, it is something beyond imagination why General VK Singh is being tolerated.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org