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'Withdraw public suit on appointment of next army chief'

Delhi,Politics, Wed, 11 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) A public suit filed in the Supreme Court alleging communal overtones in the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief should be withdrawn since the charge was "baseless and ridiculous", a retired captain who heads the Congress' ex-servicemen's wing said Wednesday.


Appealing to the petitioners, including former navy chief Admiral L. Ramdas, to withdraw the suit, Congress leader Parveen Davar said the charge of communalism in the selection of new chief was "baseless and ridiculous".


He said the selection of the army chief and other chiefs was done by a time-tested, "fool-proof" system of seniority.


"To cast aspersions on the integrity, impartiality and patriotism of eminent persons involved in the selection process of the chief will undermine the authority of the system and sully the image of the army," he said.


Davar said enough damage has been done to the system following the events after the row over army chief Gen. V.K. Singh's age erupted.


"In the interest of the defence forces and the nation, this all must end after defence minister's timely and categorical statement (on Gen. Singh's age)," he said.


The public suit has alleged that former army chief Gen J.J. Singh paved the path for Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh to succeed Gen. V.K. Singh by devising a communally-engineered line of succession.


Davar also urged Gen. V.K. Singh to desist from giving media interviews in view of the assurances of Defence Minister A.K. Antony on the country's preparedness to meet any challenges to its security.


Davar said Antony had made it clear that the military was fully prepared and in a much stronger position than in the past.


He said information on the defence services which should not have gone into public domain had created number of controversies. "(It) must cease after defence minister has clarified the nation's full operational readiness," Davar said.


"I also appeal to Gen. V.K. Singh to desist from making any further press statements or give interviews before he retires (May 31)," Davar added.


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