New Delhi: In an effort to douse the fire of controversy after the leakage of his letter to the Prime Minister regarding the murkier scenario of India’s defence preparedness and revelation about a bribe offer from a retired Army officer, Army Chief General VK Singh has cautioned the nation about the rogue elements in the system.

Denying any sort of conflict between him and the Defence Minister at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday, General Singh asked the media not to project the issue as a war between army and the government.

He said that the constant projection of every issue as a battle between the government and the Army chief is "misleading". General Singh’s clarification came a day after the statement of the Defence Minister AK Antony that all the three defence chiefs enjoyed the government's confidence".

Clarifying his position over the ongoing controversy in the defence apparatus, General Singh said, "Rogue elements are trying to create schism between the Defence Minister and the Army Chief. We need to guard against rogue elements. There is no schism between us. The timing of raising bribery issue has been questioned."

He made it clear that he was duty bound to serve the nation and suggested to find tackle the issue within the confines of the system and law. The General further added, "Institutional corrective steps were taken earlier after talks with Defence Ministry AK Antony. Selective leaks culminated in airing of letter to the Prime Minister. We are duty bound to serve country and protect the integrity of the Army even if we sometimes have to look within. We need to look within the confines of the system and law. Frivolous and uninformed comments should not be made on military matters."   

The Army Chief's attempt to further cool tempers comes a day after Antony expressed government's confidence in the service chiefs. In a recent interview, General Singh has revealed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by a lobbyist to clear a 'sub-standard' procurement order. Following this, a letter written by the General to the Prime Minister presenting a gloomy picture of India’s defence preparedness was leaked in the media causing much embarrassment for the government and defence minister in particular.

JPN