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Anthony blames Army for age row

New Delhi, Tue, 31 Jan 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): Defence Minister A.K. Antony has blamed Army institutions for discrepancies in the official age of Army chief General V K Singh on Tuesday.


Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi, Anthony strongly defended the government, stressing it was the Army that was to blame for the confusion.


"36 years, Army maintained two dates of birth. That is why this controversy occurred. Not one year, two years, 36 years Army's two branches maintained two dates of birth, official two dates of birth. Actually, it should not have happened, but it happens. 36 years, nobody notices," said Antony.


Antony also maintained that General Singh had all rights to 'question' the government's decision, while adding that the Supreme Court's decision would end the row once and for all.


"Government decision is not final. Ours is a democracy. Anybody can question the government decision. That is their right. We cannot oppose it. He has gone to the court now. So, government decision can be questioned. Let the Supreme Court take a decision. That will be final," added Antony.


The controversy stemmed from different sets of records kept with the Adjutant General and Military Secretary branches of the Indian Army headquarters.


While the Adjutant General's branch which deals with pay, perks and pensions maintains 1951 as his year of birth, the Military Secretary branch that deals with appointments and promotions has 1950 in its records.


According to reports, General Singh has been told that he will have to retire from service on May 31, 2012 on completion of his two-year tenure.


General Singh, the head of the world's second largest standing army, on January 16, filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to get his date of birth (DoB) corrected from 'May 10, 1950' to 'May 10, 1951,' after the Central Government shot down his plea.


General Singh's decision to move court has been viewed by many analysts as a gesture that could have serious ramifications on how the country selects its future military leaders.


Fuelling the simmering face-off further was the government's recent decision to 'ask' the Adjutant General's branch of the Army to 'change' Singh's DOB from the records in a letter, ahead of the Supreme Court ruling. (ANI)


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