Following uproar in Parliament over Army chief V K Singh having written to the Prime Minister on state of affairs in the Army,Defence Minister A K Antony said that the government will take appropriate action on the issue.
In his letter,dated March 12,Gen Singh had warned the PM that Army tanks have run out of ammunition and that obsolete technology is putting the country’s security at risk.
He also described the state of artillery,air defence,and infantry as ‘alarming’.
Gen Singh requested the Prime Minister to “pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the army”.
He claimed that the Army’s tanks are “devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks” and air defence is “97 per cent obsolete and it doesn’t give the deemed confidence to protect… from the air.”
Antony has acknowledged in Parliament that such a letter had been written. He told members of the Rajya Sabha that the Army chief’s letter was meant to be confidential and that the government will respond to it “at an appropriate time.”
Attacking Army chief Gen V K Singh for writing to the Prime Minister about state of affairs in the force,Union Minister Vayalar Ravi said this reflects “frustrations” of an individual,who had to withdraw his petition on the age row in the Supreme Court.
Ravi also felt that the Army chief should have written to Defence Minister A K Antony instead as per the “maryada” (decorum).
“I do not know what is the issue. I have not seen the letter. The Army is a disciplined force. (He) could not get an extension even by the court. May be a frustrated man suffers,” Ravi told reporters outside Parliament.
He was reacting to queries that the Army chief had reportedly written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,saying all is not well with the force.
Asked if Gen Singh should have written to Defence Minister A K Antony instead of the Prime Minister on the issue,Ravi said,”That is the maryada. But I am saying… whatever he does is action of a frustrated individual.”
The issue of the Army chief’s letter have led to uproar in Rajya Sabha,which was adjourned twice. Members in the Upper House have also demanded action against the person
who leaked the letter to the Prime Minister.
Janata Dal (U) demanded dismissal of the Army chief for “gross indiscipline”.
Yesterday,the audio tapes of a purported conversation between Gen Singh and another person were received by the CBI,which is looking into the alleged bribery offer case referred by the Defence Ministry.
The tapes carry a purported conversation between the Army chief and another officer in which the former is said to be shouting. However,they said the voices in the tapes are not authenticated so nothing can be said about their veracity.
The Army chief had claimed in media interviews that an equipment lobbyist had offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore,a matter which he had reported to Defence Minister A K Antony.
The Ministry had then recommended a CBI probe into the allegation made by the Army chief.