Sunday, February 19, 2012

Re: [HumJanenge] Conspiracy behind Army Chief's Age Row - THE STATESMAN

Mr. Sam Rajappa has obviously never set foot in courts.

The so-called "operative portion" he sets out is merely a FACE SAVING
DEVICE to allow Gen. Singh to withdraw his petition. Nothing more
should be read into it.

The rest of the story is "He said, she said" - sound and fury
signifying nothing.


On 2/19/12, Devasahayam MG <> wrote:
> Dear All,
> As promised herewith is the lead Article in today's THE STATESMAN that
> bares the deep rooted conspiracy that led to the sordid episode of the Army
> Chief's age row. It is for sure that the 'motivated media' would try and
> suppress it, but Truth always has an uncanny way of surfacing and then
> prevailing
> M.G.Devasahayam
> ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
> *
> *
> *Special Article *
> 19 February 2012
> *VK Singh's age-battle*
> Ball Back In Centre's Court
> By Sam Rajappa
> *An honest man's the noblest work of God.**
> **~ Alexander Pope*
> HONESTY is a vanishing commodity, according to a recent research study by
> Essex University. Paul Whiteley, author of the report, says low-level
> dishonesty has increased across the social classes, although the younger
> generation is, on the whole, even less scrupulous than the older one. In
> 1712, Jonathan Swift wrote a treatise on "The Art of Political Lying." If
> defence minister AK Antony read either of the reports, this raging
> controversy about the date of birth of the Chief of the Army Staff, General
> VK Singh, could have been avoided. There is an age-old dispute between
> moderates and rigorists.
> Antony is a moderate who believes a few lies are acceptable if they serve
> the larger interest of statecraft, like Oskar Schindler, who did not
> hesitate to lie to Hitler's storm troopers to save the lives of more than
> 1,000 of his Jewish employees. General Singh belongs to the school of
> thought of Immanuel Kant, one of the renowned exponents of the rigorist
> position, and landed himself in this unseemly controversy.
> The media, for whatever interest they were serving, saw in the 10 February
> order of the Supreme Court, the army chief losing his age war. Nowhere in
> the brief 12-paragraph judgment can one find the Supreme Court telling
> General Singh to change his date of birth to suit the interests of the
> government.
> The operative part of the judgment reads: "As a matter of fact, the
> question before us in the writ petition is not about the determination of
> actual date of birth of the petitioner, but it concerns the recognition of
> a particular date of birth of the petitioner by the respondent (Union of
> India) in the official service record. In view of the statement made by
> Goolam Vahanvati, Attorney-General, and the limited controversy in the writ
> petition, counsel for the petitioner does not wish to press the matter
> further and he seeks withdrawal of the writ petition. Writ petition is
> disposed of as withdrawn." Where is the question of who won and who lost?
> Earlier in the day, Vahanavati handed over to the Bench a short affidavit
> by KL Nandwani, deputy secretary in the Defence ministry, seeking to treat
> the second part of his 30 December 2011, order to the Adjutant General's
> branch to change VK Singh's date of birth from 10 May 1951 to 10 May 1950,
> and send a "strict compliance report at the earliest without further loss
> of time," as withdrawn and confine it to the first part only which holds
> the statutory complaint by the petitioner as not maintainable.
> The Bench granted permission and observed: "In view thereof, the
> petitioner's grievance with regard to the part of the order dated 30
> December 2011, which deals with the merits of the controversy, does not
> survive." The judgment took care to record Vahanavati's statement that the
> government had not questioned the integrity or bona fide of the petitioner.
> "The writ petition was on a matter of principle and it did not reflect any
> lack of faith or confidence in the petitioner's ability to lead the army."
> The judges took particular care to avoid any obiter dicta in their order.
> What is, however, regrettable in this sordid saga of age controversy is the
> government ignoring primary and legally accepted documents like birth
> certificate and school leaving certificate and giving credence to non-legal
> documents like an application form which can be easily manipulated. Birth
> is a natural occurrence ordained by Providence and its date and time cannot
> be altered by any government order.
> The ball is now in the court of defence minister Antony who had ordered a
> junior-level officer in his ministry to write to the Adjutant General to
> change the date of birth of General Singh to 10 May 1950, when the matter
> was sub judice. The letter had to be withdrawn on order of the Supreme
> Court. The Military Secretary, Lt.-Gen. GM Nair, in his letter
> A/4501/01(GEN/MS(1) dated 01 July 2011, to the defence minister, marked
> 'confidential,' wrote: On scrutiny of past records pertaining to Selection
> Boards, it has been observed that the MDSs pertaining to Gen. VK Singh
> which were drawn up at the time of his consideration for promotion to
> select ranks reflect the date of birth of the General Officer as 10 May
> 1951." The letter goes on to give his promotion as Major-General on 25
> October 2001, Lieutenant-General on 18/19 September 2003, and as Army
> Commander on 30 September 2005, all based on his actual date of birth. The
> letter said that copies of the relevant MDS sheets are available with the
> ministry of defence for verification, and added for good measure that "this
> has been brought to the notice of the defence minister." This document, a
> photocopy of which is available with The Statesman, makes it clear that
> till Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister, there was no dichotomy between
> the records maintained by the Military Secretary branch and the Adjutant
> General branch pertaining to the date of birth of VK Singh.
> The plot began to thicken when Gen. Joginder Jaswant Singh of Maratha Light
> Infantry took over as Chief of the Army Staff on 1 February 2005. He was
> the first-ever Sikh to rise to the top in the Indian Army. In the preceding
> months, as Gen. NC Vij's tenure was coming to an end, there was speculation
> that JJ Singh would be superseded by Lt.-Gen. Shammi Mehta, an Armoured
> Corps officer. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabanthak Committee issued a
> strongly worded statement favouring JJ Singh which was prominently featured
> in The Tribune and a few other newspapers. The Tribune was used again, this
> time to pillory Gen. VK Singh.
> For the first time in the history of the Indian Army, the communal card
> came into play, though the SGPC statement might not have had any bearing on
> the Appointments Committee headed by Manmohan Singh clearing JJ Singh's
> elevation to the top slot. Within months of taking over, he plotted a
> succession plan. That Deepak Kapoor would take over from JJ Singh was well
> known by then. After Kapoor who would depend on the Selection Board which
> was to meet towards the end of 2005 to decide on which officers were to be
> promoted to the Lieutenant-General's rank.
> After working out various permutations and combinations, JJ Singh
> discovered that VK Singh, who was a Corps Commander by then, would be the
> obvious choice to succeed Kapoor, but if his tenure could be curtailed to
> two years, the way could be cleared for Bikram Singh, the present chief of
> the Eastern Command, to take over in May 2012. At that time, Bikram Singh
> was not a front- runner as there were other officers with better
> credentials ahead of him in the succession pyramid. But they could be
> sidelined with a bit of deft tweaking.
> Those to be neutralised included Brigadiers Padam Budhwar and MM Chaudhary,
> and Majors-General Shujan Chatterjee, AK Singh and Ravi Arora, a gold
> medalist from the same batch as Bikram Singh. Raising VK Singh's age issue
> before his Lieutenant-General Board would have eliminated him from the race
> and in the process, Bikram Singh too would have been knocked out. For JJ
> Singh's succession plan to succeed, VK Singh had to remain in office till
> 31 May. On 3 May 2006, the Military Secretary branch was asked to rake up
> VK Singh's date of birth issue based on an error in his application form at
> the time of joining the NDA as a teenager, and asked to accept, in writing,
> that he was born in 1950, with the promise of an inquiry which was never
> held.
> _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
> On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 7:05 AM, Prakash Katoch
> <>wrote:
>> *This article by Mrinalini Singh needs to be read coupled with the fact
>> how the government has used the media (The Fourth Estate) – in line with
>> what MK Dhar, former Joint Director Intelligence Bureau wrote in his book
>> 'Top Secret – India's Intelligence Unveiled' wherein he says, "The
>> susceptibility of the fourth estate to the intelligence community had tied
>> our hands down. They are one of the too many holy Indian cows. Some of
>> them, as described by a senior member of the fourth estate, 'taxi on
>> hire.'
>> any paymaster can hire this particular brand."*
>> *Incredible India marches on !*
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Colonelrajan Srinivas <>
>> Date: Sat, Feb 18, 2012 at 8:34 PM
>> Subject: Article - HOW CAN GREAT OAKS SWAY WITH THE WIND? - Mrinalini
>> Singh
>> To: M V <>, veteransindia <
>>, sappersjune1963 <
>>>, 268hippos <>,
>> elephantlodge <>
>> [image:]
>> * *
>> * *
>> SINGH<>
>> *
>> * *
>> When he was a lieutenant general, V.K. Singh gave it in writing that he
>> had faith in his army chief. This cannot be construed as 'acceptance' of a
>> wrong DoB.
>> SINGH<>
>> *
>> *An error* had been made regarding the date of birth of my father at the
>> time of filling up the UPSC form when he had applied for admission to the
>> National Defence Academy (NDA). This was detected instantly and certain
>> steps were taken to correct the year of birth even before he joined the
>> academy. In fact, he reported 13 days late to the NDA as the date was
>> being
>> sor­ted out. This was obviously taken due note of, for all NDA records
>> then
>> showed his year of birth as 1951. Three years later, when he moved from
>> the
>> NDA to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), he was told to write the date of
>> birth as in the UPSC form. He pointed out that this had been corrected and
>> was told that this would be verified by a board of officers. The
>> pre-commission advisory board checked and verified his particulars; his
>> IMA
>> ident­ity card and his record of service duly sta­ted that he was born in
>> 1951. For the next few decades, ever since his commissioning into the
>> army,
>> his year of birth in all records, whether in the military secretariat or
>> the adjutant general's branch, was 1951. The only exception was the Army
>> List, which is published keeping the original UPSC form as reference
>> point.
>> Even in this case, as the date of birth had to be verified against the
>> school-leaving certificate, the entry was erroneous.
>> On May 3, 2006, 19 days after the results of the selection board for
>> lieutenant generals had been declassified, the military secretary at the
>> time, Lt Gen Richard Khare, first wrote to Gen V.K. Singh claiming there
>> was a discrepancy in the records of the two branches. This set off a chain
>> of events that eventually led to the army chief first filing a statutory
>> complaint and then referring the matter to the Supreme Court.
>> On February 3, 2012, the SC, in its wisdom, castigated the government,
>> stating that the due process of natural justice had not been followed and
>> the process had been "vitiated" in addressing the army chief's statutory
>> complaint. The attorney general at that time asked for an adjournment,
>> which was granted. During the second hearing, a week later, the attorney
>> general started proceedings by submitting an affidavit by way of which it
>> withdrew its order dated December 30, 2011, that rejected the statutory
>> complaint. In view of the government's move, and the praise about the
>> general's professional and personal conduct, our lawyer felt there was no
>> point in pressing the matter further, especia­lly since the court had made
>> it clear that in light of the government's stance, there was nothing
>> further to be discussed from a legal point of view. As a citizen of India,
>> the army chief has already expressed his grateful thanks to the learned
>> judges of the apex court for addressing the issue.
>> ***
>> *My Ambition*
>> *
>> *
>> *I don't want to be,
>> A wealthy man,
>> Nor I want to be,
>> A working man.*
>> *
>> *
>> *I want to be,
>> A great soldier,
>> Fighting on the front,
>> with a gun on my shoulder,*
>> *
>> *
>> *I want to die for,
>> My great, beloved nation,
>> And for my enemy,
>> I shall have no compassion,*
>> *
>> *
>> *I want to let the
>> Chinese know
>> That Indians can die,
>> For their Motherland.*
>> *
>> *
>> (A poem written by Gen V.K. Singh as a Std VIII student,
>> culled from his school magazine)
>> ***
>> The order passed by the court is not ambiguous in its content. I am
>> bitterly disappointed at the deliberate spin given in the media to the
>> proceedings in the court, which in my view and understanding are quite
>> contrary to what the honourable judges have said in their order. Firstly,
>> the order does not uphold an error in the threshold document, nor does it
>> say anything about the legality of either of the two dates of birth.
>> There's also nothing to suggest that the so-called 'acceptance letters'
>> exist. While it is true that these points came up during the hearing—as
>> did
>> many other statements, which include the much talked about "wise men move
>> with the wind" remark of the judges—but these were arguments that in my
>> understanding cannot be confused with the order passed by the learned
>> judges.
>> If the government had not withdrawn its order of December 30 concerning my
>> father's statutory appeal, the arguments in the court would have had a
>> different flavour and intensity and all the facts given above would have
>> come into play, requiring adjudication. But this did not happen, and my
>> father's critics have gone to town, repeatedly harping that there are
>> three
>> occasions when he had "moved with the wind" and given acceptance letters
>> to
>> the year of birth being 1950. This is blatantly untrue, and I would like
>> to
>> set the record straight.
>> Contrary to what is being projected, there has never been any such
>> 'acceptance letter'. In 2006, he was perhaps the only serving lieutenant
>> general in the history of the nation to be asked to furnish a fresh date
>> of
>> birth prior to being cleared for appointment as a corps commander. This
>> despite the fact that just a few weeks prior to that, the military
>> secretariat branch records had cleared him for promotion based on a 1951
>> year of birth. The then army chief, Gen J.J. Singh, my father's chief at
>> the time, had categorically told him that there was merely a clerical
>> discrepancy in the records. This would be sorted out, and for that he
>> needed to accept that he had faith in the army chief's decisions. This
>> would be in the interest of the organisation, as it was otherwise holding
>> up the appointments of all corps commanders. Once the army chief had this
>> letter, it was projected to the defence ministry that there was an
>> 'acceptance letter' procured from my father, acknowledging the year of
>> birth as 1950. The fact that my father, then a lieutenant general,
>> continued to ask the military secretariat branch even after that how and
>> why the army chief had been advised to make him declare a new year of
>> birth
>> underlines the fact that in 2006 there was no such 'acceptance'.
>> The question that needs to be asked of the then army chief, the military
>> secretary (Lt Gen Khare) and the judge advocate general (Maj Gen Nilender
>> Kumar), who together initiated what was clearly not the standard operating
>> procedure in 2006, is: Why did they make an exception in this case only?
>> These gentlemen have found immunity in red tape, aided perhaps by some
>> deft
>> management of the media, which has sidestepped this question, while my
>> father is accused of "bending with the wind". *In my view, this is where
>> the injustice lies.*
>> As for the second and third 'acceptance' letters, it is loos­ely being
>> said they had been written in 2008 and 2009. This immediately begs the
>> question that if there was a 'first acceptance' letter, then, what was the
>> need for a second and a third one to be asked for? The situation here is
>> slightly more complex. The army chief at this point of time was Gen Deepak
>> Kapoor and the military secretary Lt Gen Avdhesh Prakash. It is a well
>> known fact that these two gentlemen, both professionally and otherwise,
>> differed sharply from my father (then a lieutenant general) and if the
>> former had his way, my father would not have headed the Eastern Command.
>> Professionally, there was nothing that could be used by the army chief to
>> damage my father, so the 'age issue' was once again raked up to provoke
>> him
>> into disobeying a direct order to accept an incorrect year of birth. The
>> army chief is the most powerful man in the army and a series of letters
>> were written which have to be seen in their entirety to get the complete
>> picture. Opinions should not be based on an isolated sentence which cites
>> "the larger organisational interest". Had this logic been true—that Lt Gen
>> V.K. Singh 'accepted' the year of birth as 1950 so as to head the Eastern
>> Command and later become army chief—he would have shut the cupola and not
>> stirred the issue at all during his tenure as eastern army commander
>> before
>> taking over as the chief. However, he continued to write to the military
>> secretary (Lt Gen Prakash), going systematically along accepted lines of
>> redressing the clerical error within the army.
>> Honour and izzat are words that are emblazoned on a soldier's heart. Apart
>> from being the daughter of Gen V.K. Singh, I too am an army wife and have
>> seen from close quarters the man I call my father stand up for what he
>> considers is the right thing to do.
>> In this rather one-sided slanging match, it is also being implied by his
>> critics that the army chief would be better off fighting for
>> one-rank-one-pay, war memorials, weapon systems and all the other problems
>> that haunt the system. I am not going to get drawn into what all he has
>> done as the army chief; that's best left to others and that is a part of
>> his job anyway. For me, his worldview is best encapsulated in a quote from
>> Ernest Hemingway that he uses often: "Few men for the right cause brave
>> the disrespect of their fellow men, the censure of their colleagues and
>> ignorance of society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in
>> battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential vital quality of
>> those who seek to change a world which yields out painfully to change."
>> ------------------------------
>> *(Mrinalini Singh is the daughter of Gen V.K. Singh)***
>> *—as told to Chander Suta Dogra*

No comments:

Post a Comment