M A I N   N E W S

Appointment of Suhag as Army chief final: Jaitley
Snubs VK Singh, who has objected to officer’s elevation
Tribune News Service

VK Singh on Twitter

If a unit kills innocents, does dacoity and then the head of organisation tries to protect them, should he not be blamed? Criminals should go free!!

Singh must quit: Capt

Can the minister tweet like this? He must resign — Amarinder Singh, Cong dy leader in LS

New Delhi, June 11
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today put a lid on the controversy over the appointment of Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief, saying the decision was final. The government asked parliamentarians to keep the Army and its appointments out of the political arena.

In the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said: “As far as the government is concerned, the appointment is final and the government fully stands for it”. This was a clear signal to all, including Gen VK Singh (retd), now a minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, to maintain silence on the issue.

The decision to appoint Lt Gen Suhag was taken during the last days of the Congress-led UPA regime. The BJP, then in electioneering mode, had lodged a protest with the Election Commission. However, on taking over as defence minister on May 27, Jaitley had clarified: “I believe there should be no controversy or no issue about the appointment of any person. Some comments may have been made but this is not to reflect on the person concerned (Lt Gen Suhag) in any manner".

In the Lok Sabha, Amarinder Singh of the Congress set the ball rolling by seeking removal of Gen VK Singh after the latter's outburst on the micro-blogging site twitter. The former Punjab Chief Minister, first cited newspaper reports on the affidavit. When stopped, he asked the Speaker, “Can the minister tweet like this?”. He added: "He must resign".

Ironically, in December 2011, when controversy over Gen VK Singh's date of birth was at its peak, Amarinder had written a letter to AK Antony sympathising with the General.

Gen VK Singh, a former Army Chief, had reacted last night to an affidavit which the Ministry of Defence filed in the Supreme Court, blaming him for acting in a "premeditated manner" while imposing a disciplinary and vigilance (DV) ban on Lt Gen Suhag in May 2012. The ban was overturned on June 7, 2012, just a week after Gen VK Singh's tenure ended on May 31, 2012.

Reacting to this, Gen VK Singh wrote on his twitter page, “If a unit kills innocents, does dacoity and then the head of organisation tries to protect them, should he not be blamed? Criminals should go free!!”.

This, in government circles, was seen as politicising the appointment.

The affidavit was filed in the court in response to a petition filed by Lt Gen Ravi Dastane, who claimed that he should have been considered for the post of Eastern Army Commander during the two-week period when Gen Suhag faced the DV ban.





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