A senior Lieutenant General has challenged the promotion of two colleagues of his rank as Army Commanders and moved the Armed Forces Tribunal seeking quashing of such a move while seeking his own elevation to that post.
The two officers in question are Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who is likely to be the successor of Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh in 2014, and Western Army Commander Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra.
Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lt Gen Ravi Dastane recently filed the plea before the AFT seeking elevation as an Army Commander and quashing of appointment of these two officers, sources told PTI here.
If the plea is accepted, it can create a possible succession row in the force.
In his petition filed by advocate S K Sanan, Gen Dastane has pleaded that “appointment of respondent number 3 and 4 (Lt Gen Dalbir Singh and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra respectively) to be quashed being in violation of a decision in Lt Gen Raj Kadyan’s case.”
Gen Dastane has asked the AFT to direct the Defence Ministry to give him the “status and appointment of Army Commander from June 1, 2012”.
Gen Dastane’s Statutory Complaint in this regard has already been rejected by the Army headquarters and the Defence Ministry had sent it to the Law Ministry for its advice.
Gen Dastane’s previous counsel Maj S S Pandey had earlier said that on June 1, the Government had kept the post of Eastern Army Commander vacant for two to three days before Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag was appointed whereas Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachhra was appointed as the Western Army Commander on June 1.
The post was not filled as just before retirement, Gen V K Singh had put Lt Gen Suhag under a discipline and vigilance ban for a failed intelligence operation in Assam but the ban was lifted within 72 hours of Gen Bikram Singh assuming office.
“On that day, Lt Gen Dastane was also eligible to be elevated as an Army Commander and we will plead before the AFT to give us that appointment,” Pandey had said.
If the plea is accepted, then Gen Dastane may become senior to Lt Gen Suhag, who is expected to succeed Gen Bikram Singh in July 2014 after his retirement.
Gen Dastane has commanded the 14 Corps in Ladakh and was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) when troops in an artillery regiment beat up their officers in Nyoma during an exercise.
The Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the incident and its outcome is still awaited