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After notice,Army Chief puts key Lt Gen’s promotion on hold

Lt Gen Dalbir Singh's appointment as Army Commander is hit by vigilance ban.

Written by Manu Pubby |
May 24, 2012 9:20:20 pm

The Army has imposed a “Discipline and Vigilance” (DV) ban against a top Lt Gen. who is tipped to be the Army Chief in two years,effectively putting his elevation as Army Commander on hold. The ban bars any promotion or posting of the officer until he is cleared by Army Headquarters.

The ban comes after Army Chief General V K Singh personally issued a show-cause notice to the officer,Lt Gen. Dalbir Singh,last week,asking him to explain why a censure should not be recorded against him for his alleged “unprofessional and lackadaisical manner” in handling an intelligence unit accused of botching up an operation.

While Lt Gen. Dalbir Singh has been given until May 26 to respond to the notice,Army HQ has gone ahead and imposed the DV ban,a stringent clause that is invoked in cases of serious indiscipline or suspected corruption.

Sources said that even though Lt Gen. Dalbir Singh has gone on leave and has not accepted the show-cause notice,the DV ban has been put into effect by Army HQ. The notice also says that a “censure” — an administrative punishment — would be imposed if the officer is not able to satisfy the Army Chief with his answer.

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If a censure is recorded against the Lt Gen.,his appointment as Army Commander — an essential step on the way to becoming Army Chief — would come into question. However,sources in the defence ministry indicated that the DV ban and possible censure against Lt Gen. Dalbir Singh could be reconsidered if the officer files an appeal before Defence Minister A K Antony.

Lt Gen Dalbir Singh also has the option of approaching the Armed Forces Tribunal to put the notice on hold. In the case of Brigadier Abhey Krishna,who was issued a similar notice by the Army Chief,the tribunal has already granted a stay.

However,the developments have put the appointment of the next Eastern Army Commander on hold. The post is now likely to remain vacant after the incumbent,Lt Gen. Bikram Singh,takes over as the next Army Chief on May 31. Sources said that the Chief of Staff (COS) of the Command may officiate till a new Army Commander is appointed.

This is the second time that Gen. V K Singh has tried to take action against Lt Gen. Dalbir Singh. In March he had recommended a CBI probe against him for involvement in an alleged parachute procurement scandal in the Special Frontier Force (SFF). This was turned down by the government after a clean chit by the cabinet secretariat.

The current show-cause notice concerns a Court of Inquiry by the Eastern Command into an operation carried out by the 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (CISU) during which alleged irregularities took place.

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