Antony, V.K. Singh blame army for age row (Roundup)January 31st, 2012 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) The Indian Army’s administrative wing Tuesday came under attack sharp attack from both Defence Minister A.K. Antony as well as the army chief, Gen V.K. Singh, who blamed it for the age row that has pitted the officer against the government.
Both denied any civil-military confrontation on the issue and ironically backed each other in blaming the army.
“It happened unfortunately, maybe without any motive, but for 36 years the army maintained two dates of birth… That is why this controversy occurred,” Antony told reporters here.
Singh agreed and said the defence minister “is right”.
“There is no doubt about that. Obviously it is not the MoD (ministry of defence), it is within the army… Yes, this problem has been within the army. There is something wrong,” the general said.
It was the first time that Antony spoke in detail about the row that is listed for a Supreme Court hearing Friday.
The army chief moved the apex court after the defence ministry in December rejected his statutory complaint, requesting a change of his year of birth in official records to 1951 from 1950.
The age row stems from two sets of records with the Adjutant General’s and Military Secretary’s branches of the Indian Army.
Singh, citing birth records, says he was born in 1951 and was not due to retire until March 2013.
But records at the defence ministry show he was born in 1950, which means that Singh, who became army chief in March 2010, is due to step down in May this year.
Antony said the Supreme Court verdict on the controversy would be final as “it has gone beyond the government”.
“Let’s wait for the Supreme Court decision. That will be final and nobody can question that. All should be mentally prepared to accept the decision,” said the minister.
He said the fault didn’t lie with the government and squarely blamed the army for not correcting the general’s date of birth in 36 years of his service.
“Two branches of army maintained two different dates of births and nobody noticed it for 36 years. For the first time in 2006 it came to notice and the then army chief took a decision and told the government. Again in 2008, the then army general gave another recommendation and government accepted it,” Antony said.
He said the government only accepted what the then army chiefs recommend during different years and thought that the controversy was over and data amended accordingly.
“We thought it is over but again complaint came to the government last year. Then the government took a decision referring it to law ministry and attorney general thrice… that is the only way government can function,” the minister said.
The general said the issue “should have been sorted out earlier”. “There was some problem in coordination between the branch that keeps all the service records and other branches.”
He also agreed with Antony that there was no rift between the government and the army over the issue.
“There is no confrontation. We are playing it up unnecessarily,” he said.
The army chief is set to reply to a letter last week from the defence ministry asking the Adjutant General’s branch for an amendment in records of Singh’s year of birth and seeking a compliance report at the earliest possible.
Asked about the delay in replying, the chief said: “Normally a letter comes, it is studied. It takes time. Everything happens as per its own time.”
- Antony blames army for chief's age row (Lead) - Jan 31, 2012
- No civil-military confrontation: Antony on age row - Jan 31, 2012
- Army chief meets Mukherjee amid age row - Feb 02, 2012
- Government reiterates order on Army chief's age issue, to settle case in court (Lead) - Jan 29, 2012
- 1950 or 1951? That's the vital question for Gen. V.K. Singh - Feb 09, 2012
- It's official: 1950 is army chief's year of birth (Timeline) - Feb 10, 2012
- Army rejects defence ministry's order on chief's age - Aug 23, 2011
- Gen Singh also blames army for age row - Jan 31, 2012
- Government to settle army chief age issue in court, not administratively - Jan 29, 2012
- Age row is personal issue, says army chief - Jan 10, 2012
- Amidst age row, Indian Army chief meets key aides - Jan 02, 2012
- Army chief meets Pranab, no breakthrough on age row (Lead) - Feb 03, 2012
- No clue when age row will end: Army chief - Jan 15, 2012
- Indian Army chief to retire in just over 8 months: Antony - Sep 07, 2011
- Army chief's age plea before Supreme Court Friday - Feb 09, 2012
Tags: adjutant general, administrative wing, antony, apex, apex court, army chief, birth records, court hearing, date of birth, dates of birth, defence minister, defence ministry, indian army, military confrontation, military secretary, ministry of defence, New Delhi, no doubt, supreme court decision, supreme court verdict