New Delhi: Day before retirement, Army Chief Gen V K Singh has issued show cause notice to a Lt Gen, who could head the force in two years, for censure on account of lapses on his part in handling a case of a failed intelligence operation in Assam's Jorhat district last year.

The notice charges Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, GOC 3 Corps, who is in the line of succession after Army Chief-designate Lt Gen Bikram Singh, with "abdicating responsibility" in handling an intelligence and surveillance unit in a "most unprofessional and lackadaisical manner".

Gen V K Singh has said in the notice that it appeared to him that censure at the level of Chief of Army Staff in appropriate form is called for on account of the "lapses on your part".

"Accordingly opportunity is hereby afforded to you to explain the reasons for the aforesaid lapses. Reply to this show cause notice is requested within seven days of its receipt, failing which it would be assumed that you have no grounds to urge against the proposed action and an ex parte decision may be taken," the notice said.

The issue relates to proceedings of a Court of Inquiry (CoI) convened by Headquarters Eastern Command to investigate circumstances under which 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (CISU) conducted an operation in Jorhat on the night of December 20-21 last year and other circumstances.

This is not the first time that Gen V K SIngh has tried to initiate a disciplinary action against Lt Gen Dalbir Singh. In March, he had recommended a CBI probe against him for alleged involvement in a scam in Cabinet Secretariat but was turned down by the Government.

The Army Chief's notice said he has observed that the actions taken by Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as GOC were not adequate to deal with the situation.

It said Brigadier Abhey Krishna, Brigadier General Staff (Operations) in the 3 Corps Headquarters didnot display "adequate urgency" to deal with the situation arising out of the offences committed by troops involved in the operation.

Besides, the Commanding Officer, Second-in-Command and Captain Rubina Kaur Keer of the CISU were responsible for various acts of omissions and commissions which shows attempts were made to cover the serious incident.

"Various intelligence reports have also indicated the complicity of the unit in many earlier acts against military ethos," the notice said.

It said even when two signed complaints were made against the CO, 3 CISU, by an intelligence officer of the same unit sent through Eastern Command, no inquiry or action was taken.

The notice said it was also learnt that CO, 3 CISU during his absence from unit on leave was masquerading in Delhi and interacting with the media giving anti-organisation stories.

The Army had recently accused retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh along with a few serving officers of planting stories in the media about tapping of phones of various senior Defence Ministry officials by its personnel during the age controversy involving Gen V K Singh.

If Lt Gen Dalbir Singh is put under a Discipline and Vigilance ban, his elevation to the rank of Army Commander may be hindered and this may impact upon the line of succession in the service.

If Lt Gen Dalbir Singh does not become Army Commander immediately, then the present Adjutant General Lt Gen J P Nehra and 1 Corps Commander Lt Gen Ashok Singh could be elevated as Commanders and thus become eligible to be front runners for the top post in 2014.

(Agencies)

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