General V K Singh picks another battle with CAG Sharmahttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/general-v-k-singh-picks-another-battle-with-cag-sharma-2786692/

General V K Singh picks another battle with CAG Sharma

Sharma was appointed as the CAG in March 2013 by the UPA government before he retired as defence secretary.

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CAG Shashi Kant Sharma (Left) and Minister V K Singh.

The paths of MoS External Affairs Gen (retd) V K Singh and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Shashi Kant Sharma have crossed since the time Singh was the Army chief and Sharma, the defence secretary. It was during this period that the controversies around Singh’s date of birth and unauthorised movement of troops had played out.

Earlier this week, amid the ongoing AgustaWestland chopper deal row, Singh hit out at Sharma, telling India Today that “it depends on his (Sharma’s) morality, but if I was in his place and my name had cropped up in the deal, I would have immediately resigned from a constitutional post and joined investigations… For all you know, this constitutional post is a reward for all the good work he has (allegedly) done making money for people and himself”.

Sharma, however, did not respond to messages from The Indian Express for a comment on Singh’s remarks.

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Dismissing Singh’s appeal on the date of birth controversy in February 2012, the Supreme Court had told the General that, “The matter was discussed in the Army and the ministry, and you accepted that it be 1950… You had reconciled to the position that for service your date of birth is 1950.”

Singh’s acceptance of his date of birth as May 10, 1950 with the government is believed to have been done with Sharma, who was then the defence secretary. At the same time, as reported by The Indian Express, the UPA government had been worried about unauthorised movement of troops towards Delhi in January 2012.

Lt General (retd) A K Choudhary, who was then the DG Military Operations later told The Indian Express that Sharma, the then defence secretary, had asked him to send the troops back as the government “at the highest seat of power” was worried.

Sharma was appointed as the CAG in March 2013 by the UPA government before he retired as defence secretary.

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A PIL filed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan questioning the appointment of former defence secretary as CAG was dismissed by the Delhi High Court, stating that neither did Sharma’s appointment violate the principles of institutional integrity nor was the appointment arbitrary.

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Meanwhile, after his retirement, General Singh joined the BJP, and became a minister in the Modi government in May 2014 after winning the Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad.