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Army Chief’s age tangle takes another twist
Published on 28 Apr. 2011 12:39 AM IST
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The Defence Ministry is yet to settle the controversy over army chief General VK Singh’s age, which first came up back in 2008.
That was during the peak of the Sukhna land scam investigations. A CNN-IBN report said it had accessed letters between VK Singh, the former chief General Deepak Kapoor and the man at the centre of Sukhna allegations Lt General Avadesh Prakash.
It is a familiar rift in the top ranks evident during investigations in the Sukhna land scam and now once again in the spotlight.
Two different Dates of Birth for General VK Singh in official records, one with the Adjutant General’s branch that lists May 10, 1951 and the other at the Military Secretary’s branch that shows date of birth as May 10, 1950.
Even as Defence Ministry takes its time to examine what year it should go by and with that one decision on who will succeed General Singh. Correspondences between top brass of the Army on this one issue shows a bitter battle, that has pitted General against General since 2008.
The letter by VK Singh dated 1 July 2008 to then Chief Deepak Kapoor is being seen as a commitment by the officer that he will stand by 1950 as his year of birth.
Having agreed to 1950 as his date of birth, VK Singh goes on to ask what the constraints mentioned by the MS branch are? Which compel them to maintain 10 May 1950 despite the SSC certificate and despite all CRs carrying 1951 as the year. How is that CRs which are assiduously checked never rang any bell on this issue in MS Branch till I was to move on promotion as Lt Gen, Is it not an oddity sir?”
The tone and tenor become strident in another letter dated Feb 2009 from VK Singh to Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash, then Military Secretary, reiterating that the SSC board certificate is the authority for all purposes in matters related to age.
Three months later, in perhaps the strongest worded letter...dated 6th May 2009, once again to Avadesh Prakash, VK Singh wrote, “Your letter clearly points out that your branch has no system for verification of date of birth. It is also clear that your predecessor has deliberately not given out the correct fact to the Chief ...Let me also point out that the acceptance has been given in good faith because the Chief asked me to do so and not because of what your Branch was saying. Hence this argument cannot be used to hide facts and not provide details asked for.”
Important to note that these flurry of letters were running parallel to investigations in the Sukhna land scam, where then Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen VK Singh had ordered a Court of Inquiry that was to later reach and taint the very top brass.

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