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May 26, 2012 at 10:04pm IST

AK Antony could have done more in Tatra-BEML bribe case: Gen VK Singh

New Delhi: In a tell-all interview given to CNN-IBN, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General VK Singh said that Defence Minister AK Antony could have done much more in the Tatra-BEML deal controversy, adding that the minister could have moved against Lt General (retd) Tejinder Singh.

"I have faith in the Defence Minister... However, he could have moved against Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh... He relies heavily on advice from people... I don't know what advice he is being given."

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Speaking further on the deal, the COAS claimed that Lt Gen Tejinder Singh had offered him a bribe.

"Lt Gen Tejinder Singh offered me money... He was acting for someone. He is giving false information to the media. He has a devious mind... he can make up any story."

He also spoke on the age row, blaming one man for the entire controversy - the then military secretary and now dismissed officer Avadesh Prakash.

"Avadesh Prakash was behind the age row. I blame him for the entire controversy," said Gen Singh.

Gen Singh further blamed the media for reducing him to a cry baby on the age row.

"The media reduced me to a cry baby... I was wrongly advised on age issue... Avadesh Prakash was behind it," he said.

Meanwhile, amidst the charge that he was trying to block the promotion of a Lieutenant General, to whom he has issued a show cause notice, Gen Singh said that there was no vendetta against Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Gen Singh said it was not right to discuss the notice in public.

He added, "It is morally unacceptable to publicise the notice. How and why did the notice find its way into the public? Dalbir Suhag is morally flawed in going to media."

Gen Singh had issued the notice to the 3 Corps Commander, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, on May 19 for a failed intelligence operation by the 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (CISU) in Jorhat in Assam.

"Suhag should have had the moral courage to reply," General Singh added.

He also said that there were no doubts on succession in the Army. He added, "Next Chief Gen Bikram Singh has been briefed well now... He won't face the problems I faced."

General Singh further said that the Indian Army had emerged unscathed from the recent controversies and that its morale had not been affected in any way.

"The Army is better now. It is more transparent. I am not leaving it in disarray. I have put things in place," the Army Chief said.

And finally, when asked if he was thinking of joining Team Anna's campaign, Gen Singh said he had received no such offer.

He ruled out joining politics saying he had no political ambitions.

However, Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh hit back at the Army Chief for his comments, saying the COAS had lost his mental balance. "No offer of bribe was made. Why did the Army Chief not make a complaint to the police?" he asked.

He added, "When bribe is offered, it's the bounden duty of any public servant to report the matter to the police under section 39 of the CrPC. Gen VK Singh cannot abdicate his responsibility and if that happens, the buck will stop at the Prime Minister. No offer of a bribe was made to Gen VK Singh. These allegations are being made to serve Gen Singh's vested interests and the facts will come out during the course of the trial."

When asked about the Army Chief's 'devious mind' comment, Lt Gen Tejinder Singh replied, "He is at liberty to say what he wishes. I would like to quote Brajesh Mishra in an interview to Karan Thapar that Gen Singh has lost his mental balance. Gen Singh made several aspersions against the Supreme Court as well. That clearly indicates that Gen Singh has lost his mental balance."

He added, "The Army Chief's vested interest will come out during trial in court. I do not want to talk about it with the media."

He further said that the Army Chief was now simply trying to shift the blame to Defence Minister AK Antony. "He did not go to the police as there were no charges against me," said the retired Army officer.