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Succession war for Army Chief's post gets murky

CNN-IBN
Jan 11, 2012 at 10:57am IST

New Delhi: The succession war for the Army Chief's post is getting murky with allegations of a fake encounter re-surfacing against Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, tipped to succeed General VK Singh.

The J&K High Court has served a notice to the Defence Ministry and the Omar Abdullah government after an NGO, Anhaad, filed a petition seeking details of the encounter that took place in 2001.

The petitioner claimed that a civilian was killed in the encounter instead of the foreign militant that the Army had claimed. Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, then a Brigadier, was heading the 5 Sector Rashtriya Rifles, which was involved in the encounter.

The Defence Ministry has begun the search for the next Army Chief in a bid to avoid any confusion in case General Singh, who is in a controversy over his date of birth, quits or if a court rejects his plea before his official tenure came to an end.

In normal circumstances the name of the new chief is announced two months before the incumbent retires. The correct age is crucial to deciding when General Singh would retire.

General Singh contends he was born in 1951. Documents, however, suggest he was born in 1950. If 1950 is accepted as his year of birth, Singh will retire in 2012, if not, he can serve till 2013.

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