Age row related to integrity, says army chief

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    New Delhi, (IANS) Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh Thursday downplayed the age row he is caught in with the government, but said it was an issue of integrity and honour.

    At the army chief’s annual press conference here, Singh refused to comment on the issue that “has always been that of integrity and honour”.

    He said “awkward spins” were given to the issue and denied media reports that he was planning to move the Supreme Court over it.

    “There is no point in vitiating things the way they are. Each one of us puts our own spin (to the controversy).”

    He said some vested interests were trying to play up the matter.

    “I know it, what the motives are. Unfortunately these things don’t remain hidden. We will not talk of this issue,” he added before reading out an opening statement to journalists.

    The army chief maintained that there is no rift with the government, indicating that he may have settled with 1950 as the year of birth.

    “It is a matter of the spin you want to do. If you look at the facts straight, I don’t think it is affecting the image of the (army),” he told reporters.

    The controversy stemmed from different sets of records about his age in 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, which deals with appointments and promotions, has 1950 in its records.

    The general insists he was born May 10, 1951, and not in 1950.

    The government has gone with the records of the military secretary which means that Singh should retire this year. The correction in military secretary records would have given him one more year in service.

    The general in recent times has been saying it was his personal issue and not linked to the armed forces.

    He said he has tried to tackle the matter “in organisational interest”.