The other general,comfortably retired until the bribery bomb

Tejinder Singh was the fourth head of the DIA and demitted office in July 2010

Written by Ritu Sarin | Published: March 28, 2012 2:34:19 am

Till last month,he was one of hundreds of senior retired personnel,with a house in South Delhi and a plush car and,like so many others of his tribe,doing a business in “consultancy”. Then suddenly,in the midst of the bitter feud between the Ministry of Defence and Army chief General V K Singh,the name of the former director general of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA),Lt Gen Tejinder Singh,cropped up. And by the month’s end,when the retired intelligence officer had filed a defamation suit against the chief,a general-versus-general showdown had begun to seriously unravel.

The Army chief had made an allegation of bribery against an officer who has held one of the most sensitive posts in the military establishment. The post of DG,DIA,was created by the government in March 2002 and was aimed at creating better synergy and coordination between the intelligence wings of the three services and providing integrated inputs to the top echelons of the defence establishment. The post is rotated between the three services and the DIA chief also has the responsibility of coordinating with civilian intelligence agencies like the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing.

Tejinder Singh was the fourth head of the DIA and demitted office in July 2010. Prior to heading the DIA,he was a Corps Commander and Deputy Director General of Military Operations. And shortly after his retirement,he was considered one of the frontrunners for the post of the chief of the National Technical Research Organisation. Tejinder Singh,however,missed the NTRO appointment. There is a feeling that the fact that he was among the senior officers who had an apartment in Mumbai’s Adarsh Society may have raised some eyebrows in the government.

He thus plunged into his consultancy business,one of finding technical solutions to strategic problems for individuals and companies. And as he has informed the Delhi High Court via his defamation suit,he now runs two consultancy firms,Emerald Technology and Strategic Consultancy LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) and Emerald FINMAN LLP.

On the face of it,Tejinder Singh had slipped into a benign,post-retirement stage of his career,and some of his confidants say that,therefore,the allegations of bribery and wheeling-dealing made by the Army and its chief came to him as a bolt from the blue. For while the Army chief stopped short of naming the former DIA chief in the media interviews where he dropped the bribery bomb,the Army in an earlier press release had directly named him as the “source” for a malicious media campaign and as the retired officer who had offered bribes on behalf of Tatra and Vectra,the companies that have been supplying all-terrain vehicles to the Army since 1986.

As of now,Tejinder Singh has not denied the meeting with the Army chief and there is an indication that there may have been more than one encounter between them. What transpired between the two generals,and whether there is any written or recorded evidence of the allegations against Tejinder Singh,will be critical to the investigations that follow.

The word from the Tejinder Singh camp is that besides legal action,the former DIA chief is also ready with the ammunition to turn the tables on the Army chief. This,even as the chief himself has hinted to the CBI team that visited him on Monday that “sufficient” documentary evidence will be handed over to the agency to back the sensational allegations.

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