Process of procurement, payment done by Defence Ministry: Shankar Roy Chowdhury

In the wake of revelations of corruption within the Army — the latest being Army Chief V.K. Singh's allegations that he was offered a bribe of Rs. 14 crore by a lobbyist, the former Army Chief, Shankar Roy Chowdhury, said here on Monday that attention should not be restricted to the Army alone. “Other quarters,” including the Ministry of Defence, should also be examined.

“Why focus attention particularly on the Army? The Army has very little scope for corruption as it has a limited role in procurement. The whole process of procurement, where these alleged payments change hands, takes place in the Ministry of Defence,” Gen. Roy Chowdhury, who served as the Army Chief between November 1994 and September 1997, told The Hindu.

“Focus should also be put on the other quarters,” he said adding that the Army merely informed the government about its needs and all the details of signing contracts and making payments were looked after by the bureaucracy.

Asked about Gen. Singh's assertion that the row over his age was “a manufactured controversy,” Gen. Roy Chowdhury said although it was “all speculation,” there were many who still believed it to be so.

“When the present Chief took over the office, he did say he was seriously going to clean up the system. There are many linkages outside the system as well. May be this could be a reaction to that…But this is all speculation,” he said.

Gen. Roy Chowdhury said Gen. Singh could be facing conflict “as he pushes against these outside agencies” in a bid to clean up the system.

Referring to the current controversy, Gen. Roy Chowdhury said a person's refusal to accepting bribe showed that “everyone is not corrupt and the whole system cannot be subverted.”

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