Does Gen Singh’s bribe claim help or harm Army?

The saga of the chief of the Army Staff, Gen V.K. Singh, gets murkier and murkier. First, the disparity between the much-decorated general’s recorded date of birth and real date of birth occupied the nation’s (and Supreme Court’s) attention for months, even as much dirty linen was washed by friends of both parties on television.

The whispers were that the government wanted to sneak in one of its chosen men and had chosen to press its line.

Now, after the retirement issue has been sorted out and the line of succession is clear, the outgoing chief has levelled allegations of being offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear the purchase of a tranche of sub-standard jeeps. What is more, he has hinted that the offer was made by a lobbyist who was till only recently with the Army and that he had brought the bribe offer to the notice of the defence minister A.K. Antony.

Both incidents are “unprecedented”, as the media loves to call all incidents. But there is little denying that the timing of Gen Singh’s disclosures will put the government already reeling under Coalgate, CWG, 2G and other scams in a spot. Defence bribes are a touchy issue—Bofors claimed the chair of Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 and Tehelka‘s Operation Westend still haunts the BJP. That such an incident came during the tenure of “St. Antony” will not be missed by many.

At the same time, there is little denying that, for all his claims to the contrary, Gen Singh’s motives are beginning to acquire a small question mark. Simple question: Do Gen Singh’s moves harm or help the Indian Army?

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24 Responses to “Does Gen Singh’s bribe claim help or harm Army?”

  1. sudhir Says:

    When he initially was fighting for his ‘honour’ I guess lot of us thought he was genuinely fighting a worthy battle. As things unfolded it became clearer that he had his own personal agenda. Now Gen VK Sing has only made things worse for the army and its image. Apart from this bribery allegation he also has cast aspersions (not in public but within the government but which otherwise is an open secret) on the Chief of Assam Rifles – Gen R Roy.
    His motives are becoming questionable by the minute.

  2. narayana, narayana... Says:

    The Army, hitherto saved from the mud splattered on netas, babus and business, has been drawn into this. Sad.
    The number of turns that the General has made in the recent controversy has now made this allegation of an attempt to bribe him. Is his coming forward to make these revelations a consequence to his ultimately losing his age-controversy case?
    By and large, the armed forces had a clean image among the people and now doubts arise.

  3. DailyBread Says:

    @Sudhir,

    >His motives are becoming questionable by the minute.

    How & why? Whats wrong in seeti bajaana.

    @Narayana,

    >By and large, the armed forces had a clean image among the people and now doubts arise.

    Only now?You mean before this everything was hunky dory….

    >The Army, hitherto saved from the mud splattered on netas, babus and business, has been drawn into this.

    Once in a while, a little jostling at this level will help the nation. Who knows Army may get better jongas, better shoes, better uniforms, apart from getting best 155mm howitzers money can buy.

  4. asha Says:

    Why shoot the messenger…VKS had informed about the offer of bribe to Antony, who should have initiated action upon receiving the information. However, this did not happen, probably that is why VKS chose to go public with this information. The indian defence forces were susceptible to bribing right from V Krishna Menon’s time who ordered used jeeps for the army from US, which did not work…so we have rich tradition of bribe taking right from the Minister of Defence

  5. Deepak Says:

    The Congress is very smug in asking why he didn’t file a complaint. But what was the esteemed defence minister doing? Why did he keep quiet all these days? While Gen.Singh’s timing is suspect, Antony & Co. can’t try and hide their dubious role in this.

  6. chidu22 Says:

    Its ridiculous to question the Army General’s motive, the truth is kickback culture in Army in purchase of equipments is not unprecedented. The inquiry should bring out the truth first as a priority.Gen VKS’s intentions will also be revealed with a independent probe. The congress has a habit of putting its foot in the mouth, it shouldn’t come as surprise if you have followed the UPA tenure. Yes ,Gen VKS didn’t come out smelling roses in the age controversy, however the allegations shouldn’t be viewed incredulously.

  7. NRI Says:

    “Simple question: Do Gen Singh’s moves harm or help the Indian Army?” wonders Churumuri poll question!!

    WOW!! Simple question? And, how on the earth an allegation of this nature can ‘help the Indian Army’ ???

    This is a very serious allegation and there should be an investigation to find the truth. Nobody knows the truth and we can’t judge his allegations simply based on his recent actions / controversy. After all, we had scandals in the past where Army officers were ready to do ‘things’ for a right price!! To be honest, it is hard to believe that our Armed forces have escaped from the rampant corruption that we see in our day-to-day life. There could be nasty things going on that we are simply not aware of. When you have a society filled with unbelievable amount of corruption, why would anyone believe that these men in Uniform are very clean? Oh well….

  8. the colonel Says:

    Oh Saint Anthony!

  9. bengloor Says:

    ibnlive.in.com/news/karnataka-rs-2-lakh-crore-land-scam-surfaces/242940-37-64.html

    Dharam Singh and Krishna’s role has to be investigated thoroughly.

  10. sanjeeva Says:

    Nothing is going to happen. There will not be any earthquake. It will be fodder for the opposition and the media to keep them busy. There will be noise for sometime and it will die down gradually like all other scores of scams the country has been witnessing ever since 1947.

  11. the colonel Says:

    Obfuscate Obfuscate Obfuscate Obfuscate.Thats it.

    The Indian Army is harmed by the likes of JLN, KM, and so on.

    All our rights, our pay agreed to is placed under suspended animation.

    And then when the truth comes out….

    Aayo Twist Karen

    and we Singh

    Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan Iske Seeva Jaana Kahan

  12. Shree Kar Says:

    bribes are nothing new in our army – as long as there are no Mir Sadiq or Mir Jaffars. If the PM himself could take his cut from Bofors, why not Generals?

    It is hard to believe that Gen. Sing was not aware of corruption under him or above him. Why has he started singing now?

  13. Deepak Says:

    Shocking to see an expose on NDTV where it was shown that Army paid Rs.29,000 for a tarpaulin that costs Rs.2,000!!! And for the trucks, Tata and Leyland had quoted 18lakhs, but Tetra-BEML got the order for 68 lakhs. Disgraceful – worrying fact is with all these kind of equipment bought to fill someone’s purse, will we be able to fight a war, let alone win it?

  14. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    We have the general to tell us that he was offered a bribe, and we have the general to tell us that the jeeps were substandard. Does believing one assertion mean I’m believing the other also? Should I?

  15. Faldo Says:

    The general was just stating a fact. He did follow the due process by bringing it to the notice of his minister. His stated intention was that such things should be kept away from the army and processes must become more transparent. He probably waited to report the matter internally before making the claim to the media. Whether there is an ulterior motive or not, it was brave of him to bring out this fact. To that extent his action needs to be welcomed.

  16. Shetty R Says:

    Aside to the white elephant trucks, a simple Hydraulic Jack was bought by the Govt for Rs 30,000.00….while local rates are a mere Rs 3000!
    Key question is how much did Sonia and team actually receive in black, ALL these years? How many millions did the ex-Generals and politicians cartel milk the country all these years?

    To top it all, it’s indeed tragic to note that team Anna is now being targeted by all MPs, led by none other than noted specimens like Sharad Yadav, Mulayam and Lalu!

  17. Jayashree Says:

    Whom do you believe? The PM or the General!

  18. harkol Says:

    Congies ask why didn’t general file a ‘written complaint’.

    If he had done that then they would’ve questioned “Why didn’t he file a written complaint and follow up?”.

    If he had done that too, then they’d question “after the follow up, why didn’t he also do a break dance?”!!

    For guys who are entrusted but disinterested in changing the system, it is disingenuous to insist that someone else had to do so. General Singh, had an fiduciary duty to bring up the issue of bribe offer to his superior. He did.

    He couldn’t have given a written complaint unless he had documentary evidence, as it would give an opportunity for the accused to escape covert investigations and also file a case of defamation.

    What was needed was ordering of a quite investigation to trap the bribe giver. Apparently – Congress was disinterested, as with many other scam investigations, where their colleagues are neck deep involved.

    Now that General Singh has blown the whistle, what ever his motives, he will be hounded. A defamation case has already been filed on him by the bribe offerer, now other folks who have a lot to loose in this scam, which is said to be of 750crores, will do their best to harm Mr. Singh.

    It is sad that two of our most honest officials Mr. Anthony and General Singh are coming out in bad light of condoning corruption by not pursuing action.

  19. asha Says:

    There used to be a popular belief that the civilian government is very corrupt and the army should take over the county and bring martial law for 10 years to set things right and then hand the country back to the civilian government. With this kind of Army, it would be anybody’s guess where that would take us….right to where our neighbour na-pakistan is.

    Also, all these bribe giving/taking has been happening under the watchful eyes of the UPA and the rajmata, who were in the forefront of the campaign against George Fernandes and alleged that he had paid excess for the caskets bought during the Kargil war. The allegation did not stick and it turned out that it was a mischief played by kaangress. Now what face does this corrupt party and its PM and chairperson have to show the public.

    For the record, Anthony for all his squeaky clean image, is letting his slip show on more than one occasion, especially wearing that white dhoti is apparently not helping him.

  20. harkol Says:

    India must be one of the lowest spenders on Military among the G20. I know we are enlisted as the biggest arms importer in the world.

    But, looking at scam figures, it is apparent that only 1/10th of the money is gone towards actual purchase. At this rate if we are spending US$40billion a year, effectively we are only getting about US$4billion worth of material to our defence forces.

    Even Pakistan would be able to beat us at this rate!! Leave alone china. Isn’t it treason if someone plays around with defense of our country?

  21. asha Says:

    Harkol,

    This is actually a blessing in disguise. Of the allocated funds to the defense services in every budget, a major portion of the allocation is not being used due to the red tapism and the delay in taking decisions, by the MOD. Hence, a large portion of the allocated fund for each year is returned back to the treasury, which in turn is preventing the money going into the pockets of arms dealers and the corrupt defense personnel. Had our MOD been more efficient, more money would have gone down the drain in the guise of procurement. For a country aspiring to be a super power, this is really a very bad development.

  22. asha Says:

    Interesting facts about this whole deal is that a PSU (BEML) is importing these tatra trucks from Czech Republic and Slovakia, and selling them to the Indian Army after marking up the price 100%. Till 2010, these vehicles were procured without a question being asked by all the earlier Army Chiefs. Only after VKS took over he questioned the wisdom of purchasing a vehicle from BEML, that could be bought directly from eastern europe at half the price. Incidentally, the company that manufactures these trucks is owned by an NRI Ravi Rishi. More importantly these vehicles after 25 years are not indigenised and has a left hand drive while most army vehicles are right hand drive. BEML cheif (THIEF) Natarajan claims there was no request from the Army to convert the trucks to a right hand drive vehicle and they are used to driving the vehicles left handed. Only in 2010, VKS ordered a multi bid tender to indigenise the procurement of these trucks. BEML was hoping to get a last order from the Army, and offered the bribe of 14 crores to VKS to clear the procurement.

    It is only in India a PSU can shaft the defence establishment for so long and so hard and get away with it. It is a case of Government screwing the Government.

  23. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Good post, Asha!

  24. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    What kind of a question is this?

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