As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear the Army Chief age row, both Defence Minister AK Antony and Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh on Tuesday blamed the Army for the mess. Both Antony as well as General Singh said that the Army sat on the problem for 36 years and that the problem should not recur.
Antony said that the Supreme Court verdict on the controversy surrounding the date of birth of Army Chief will be final. Refusing to see the controversy as a civil-military conflict, Antony said that people responsible for maintaining the records will take the decision on General Singh’s date of birth.
“It’s gone beyond the government. Let’s wait for the Supreme Court decision. That will be final and nobody can question that,” said Antony in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“There are people responsible for that, (and) they will take the decision. At this stage it won’t come to me,” said the Defence Minister.
Antony pointed out that the controversy was not new and it had been festering for over 36 years.
“It’s been 36 years but the government was not in picture. It was only known to the Army. In 2006 the Army noticed two dates of birth, then it went to the level of Army Chief in 2006. The government of that day took a decision and recommended it to the Army. Where is the civil-military controversy? In 2008 it was another Army Chief and then the recommendation was sent to the government and the government accepted that,” he said.
Reacting to the Defence Minister’s statement, Genral VK Singh said, “Yes, this problem has been within the Army. It shouldn’t have happened, but has continued for 36 years, and this problem will not recur ever again.”
“The letter from the Defence Ministry to the Adjutant General’s branch is being studied and reply will be given in due course,” he said.
“There was some problem in coordination between the branch that keeps all the service records and other branches. Now a system has been put in place to resolve the coordination problem. As a result, such problem will never recur,” General Singh said.
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