PIL: Communal card at highest level in Army

‘Op moses’ * Says former Army chief J J Singh paved way for Lt Gen Bikram Singh to succeed Gen V K Singh to the top post

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: April 10, 2012 3:37 am

A PIL filed in the Supreme Court alleges that former Army chief General (retired) J J Singh paved the path for Lieutenant General Bikram Singh to succeed General V K Singh to the top post by devising a communally-engineered line of succession nicknamed ‘Operation MOSES’.

To begin with,the PIL claims that even during the appointment of J J Singh,the first Sikh Army Chief,“communal cards” were played at the highest level.

The petition filed by retired Navy chief Laxminarayan Ramdas,former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami,three former senior Army officials and others,has been numbered as a civil writ petition on the Supreme Court website.

The PIL is replete with references to “langar talk”,and how the powerful Sikh body,Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC),had issued a “strong” statement published in several newspapers in favour of J J Singh taking over an Army in which usually the “seniority principle” is followed in “selecting service chiefs”. It also claims that J J Singh had “admitted that there would have been a bloodbath on the streets if he had been superseded”.

“The petitioners assume that the SGPC’s statement probably had little or no bearing on the Appointment Committee which at that time was headed by the present Hon’ble Prime Minister,Dr Manmohan Singh. Yet the fact remains that for the first time in Independent India,the communal cards were played at the highest level in the Army,” the PIL claims.

The PIL then goes on to describe how J J Singh,within a few months of taking charge,had initiated “something called the look-down policy”.

This,the petition alleges,was intended to indicate to an officer above the rank of Brigadier who was still climbing the command pyramid to as to what the “line of succession” would or could be. This would also by “various permutations and combinations” predict the next three/four Army chiefs.

On this,the PIL claims that J J Singh prepared a list nicknamed “Op MOSES” which implied that he would craft the way for Lt General Bikram Singh to become the Chief of Army Staff in 2012. “Like a family tree in reverse,Op MOSES listed potential threats that needed to be neutralised,” the PIL claims.

The petition alleges that J J Singh “tweaked events”,“eliminated contenders”,“fixed” them,employed “delaying tactics” to allow Lt Gen Bikram Singh to overtake them — and all this with the Ministry of Defence watching on as a mute spectator.

But the PIL alleges that for Operation Moses to succeed,it was “also imperative that General V K Singh becomes the Chief,but only till 2012,so that Lt General Bikram Singh,succeeds him”.

The PIL claims that General V K Singh’s age issue before all the promotion boards held,as produced by the AG Branch and the MS Branch,was May 10,1951. This,it claimed,was left intentionally untouched.

“For Op MOSES to succeed,it was imperative for Gen V K Singh to be sent into a tailspin. The timing was critical — to have created the age issue before his Lieutenant General Board would have meant that V K Singh would not be the chief,thereby knocking out Bikram Singh which would have been counter-productive,” the PIL says.

It adds that if “the way the things have been manipulated to one’s advantage,the way slowly by these manipulation,the political and bureaucratic establishments are trying to take over the control of Army,is not stopped at the threshold,the day is not far when the country would lose its very basic identity of being a sovereign and democratic republic”.

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