Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2 Army officers fight over top post


The Army’s image is set to take a further beating with an ongoing tussle between two senior lieutenant generals of the Indian Army over appointment to the top post of the tri-services Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS). The tussle, between the Director General of Hospital Services Lt. Gen. Pradeep Bhargava and the Commandant of the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital Lt. Gen. Naresh Kumar is now likely to reach the courts. Lt. Gen. Bhargava is senior to Lt. Gen. Kumar in service. This will be the first controversy of its kind to hit new Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh who took over earlier this year as chief and comes in the wake of incidents such as the Sukna land scam last year that had dented the Army’s image.
The current DGAFMS (Lt. Gen. N.K. Parmar) retires on June 30 this year and the matter has therefore acquired an urgency in government circles.
It all started when the Army and ministry of defence (MoD) actively began to consider expunging a numerical grading in a confidential report (CR) of 2005 that would have probably have resulted in Lt. Gen. Kumar becoming DGAFMS.
This was being considered on the grounds that one of the numerical gradings that year could be “technically invalid”.
Sources said Lt. Gen. Bhargava then complained to the government that such a move would not be in accordance with the “system of good governance that the armed forces represent”. Both the officers had been empanelled for promotion from major-general to lieutenant general in 2008.
If the government and Army approve expunging of a grading in one of Lt. Gen. Kumar’s CRs, he could be considered by a review board to have been empanelled in 2007 itself thus making him the front-runner for the post of DGAFMS. This would also mean that Lt. Gen. Bhargava would be superseded.
Lt. Gen. Bhargava retires on August 31 this year while Lt. Gen. Kumar retires next year.
But appointment to the post of DGAFMS will give them more tenure till they reach the age of 62.
But what has added to Lt. Gen. Bhargava’s fears is that the MoD and Army are likely to expunge the numerical grading, resulting in Lt. Gen. Kumar becoming the new DGAFMS.
Lt. Gen. Bhargava is now likely to petition the armed forces tribunal against any such move.

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