New Delhi: Former Army chiefs have expressed their shock over Army Chief General VK Singh's allegation that he was offered a bribe to clear the purchase of sub-standard vehicles for the forces.
General (Retd) Shankar Roy Choudhary defended Army Chief General VK Singh saying he did the right thing by informing the Defence Ministry that he was offered bribe. "One cannot go to the police and file an FIR based on a conversation. He did the right thing by going to the Defence Ministry and informing them," General Choudhary said.
This came after General Singh, in an interview to national daily 'The Hindu' said he was offered a bribe worth Rs 14 crore by an equipment lobbyist to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles cleared for purchase. He also said he reported the matter to Defence Minister AK Antony.
General Choudhary, however, expressed shock at General Singh's claim that he was offered bribe to clear the purchase of vehicles for the forces saying it wasn't possible to offer money to an Army Chief. "I'm not aware of any Army Chief being offered a bribe. If the Chief is saying then it must have happened. But I don't think it is possible to offer money to an Army Chief," he said.
He also added that equipments in the Army were not of the best quality. "Times have changed since I retired. There are vehicles that come to us, I would not say sub-standard but yes they are not the best in the world. The equipments are far from being the best in world but we are handling them and are handling them well. Army's role is only to try the vehicles and give a report," he said.
Another retired Army Chief General VP Malik also expressed shock calling the incident 'strange' and 'serious'. He said, "There have been incidents earlier, like the Tehelka case. This is the first time that I have heard the Army Chief was approached in this manner. To me it's very strange. It's a serious matter," General Malik said.
General Malik, however, said an FIR should have been registered in the matter. "Why wasn't it reported and the company banned? An FIR should have been lodged. It's a very serious charge," he said.
"Had I been the Army Chief, I would have banned the company, would have investigated the retired Army officer. Disciplinary action should have been taken against him," General Malik added.