“As far as government is concerned, appointment (of Lt Gen Suhag as Army Chief) is final and government stands by it,” Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha.
His statement came when senior Congress leader Anand Sharma raised the issue of certain tweet messages against Army Chief-designate by Gen Singh, Minister for Development of Northeast Region and MoS for External Affairs.
Jaitley said the previous UPA government had made the appointment few weeks ago and it is a practice that “we keep” some issues outside the “realm of inter-party politics”. He said the matter should not be raised directly or indirectly.
Earlier, Sharma raised the issues of tweets and demanded Gen Singh’s removal from the Council of Ministers saying the matter was “very serious” and the comments by a minister do not “augur well”. The issue was raked up against the backdrop of Defence Ministry telling the Supreme Court in a recent affidavit that the decision of Gen Singh, then Army Chief, to impose a promotion ban on Suhag, then 3 Corps Commander, was “illegal and premeditated”.
Soon after the matter came to light, Gen Singh alleged that the “Defence Ministry affidavit is the same as it gave to Armed Forces Tribunal under protective and conniving UPA”.
He also justified his decision to impose a Discipline and Vigilance (DV) ban on Lt Gen Suhag saying, “If unit kills innocents, does dacoity and then head of organisation tries to protect them, should he not be blamed? Criminals should go free!!.”