11.21am: Army Chief General VK Singh has refuted claims that there was no transparency in the Indian army, saying that the very fact that issues and scams were coming out showed that transparency existed.
He refused to take questions on the controversy related to General Bikram Singh’s tenure in Congo and a case of a fake encounter.
“I haven’t read the file on Congo,” he said.
When asked about what he expects from his successor he said, “I have full hope that he will act in a manner that will benefit the Indian army. The Indian army is already on track and to take it forward is a good thing.”
11.17am: In his final address to his troops, General VK Singh has told the Indian army to stand firm against corruption and ensure that it is a clean institution with the best interests of the nation at heart.
He also praised the efforts of the Defence Minister in addressing the “hollowness of the army”.
11.00am: General VK Singh is formally handing over the reigns of the Indian Army to Bikram Singh. He has laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti, and is now inspect a guard of honour at Gate no 2 in South Block.
10.45am: After General VK Singh will formally hand over the reigns of the Indian Army to General Bikram Singh, ending an extraordinary 24 month term, in which the tensions between the civilian government and the military were drawn into sharper focus and greater scruntiny of procuring equipment for the armed forces.
General VK Singh will lay a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at 10.50am, after which he will inspect a guard of honour at Gate no 2 in South Block at 11am. He will formally hand over the reigns of the Army to General Bikram Singh at 11.30am after having tea with his senior officers.
The General’s term which saw the him take the unprecedented move of taking the civilian government to court over a mix-up of his official date of birth, ended after the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter. Soon after there were reports of General VK Singh’s alleged involvement in installing listening equipment in the Defence Minister’s office, a claim that was strongly denied and investigated.
However, the Army chief then hit headlines again when he accused a former army official of offering him a bribe of Rs 14 crore in order to approve the contract for the acquistion of all-terrain trucks for the army. He accused former army official Lt General Tejinder Singh of offering the bribe, a claim which is being investigated by the CBI and has led to a further probe into the acquisition of the Tatra trucks for the Indian Army.
Tejinder Singh also slapped a case of defamation on the Army chief and accused him and four others of making false allegations in an official Army press release.
A letter written by the Army chief to the Prime Minister pointing out shortages in the acquisition of defence equipment for the army and seeking more funds was also mysteriously leaked, creating a public and parliamentary uproar. An Intelligence Bureau probe is on in the matter, though the General had called it treason and said the person who leaked the letter to the media should own up and sacrifice.