“The appointment of Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the Army Chief is final and the government stands by it,” Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha.

“The UPA government had made the appointment of the Army Chief some weeks ago. We must keep some issues outside the realms of party politics. All of us must keep the Army and its appointments out of this arena. The issues that are subjudice can't be discussed here,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Congress hit out at the Centre and demanded former army chief General (retired) V K Singh’s resignation from the Council of Ministers over the ongoing controversy.

The Congress demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the former army chief’s comment on Lieutenant General Suhag and insisted on his resignation, saying he has “no moral right” to continue as a Minister of State.

In a major embarrassment to Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre, Jaitley had earlier pulled up Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials over an affidavit on Lieutenant General Suhag and asked for an explanation on how an affidavit slamming another Minister General (retired) VK Singh landed in the Supreme Court.

Jaitley has sought an explanation from Defence Secretary R K Mathur on the ministry's affidavit in the Supreme Court which said the former army chief’s decision to impose a promotion ban on Lieutenant General Suhag was ‘illegal and premeditated’.

The Defence Ministry has told the Supreme Court in a recent affidavit in a promotion case related to Lt Gen Ravi Dastane that the alleged lapses which were made as grounds to impose disciplinary ban on Lieutenant General Suhag were ‘premeditated’, ‘vague’ and ‘illegal’.


Read More: VK Singh justifies decision on Dalbir Suhag’s promotion ban

Soon after the matter came to light, General (retired) Singh alleged that the ‘Defence Ministry affidavit is same as it gave to Armed Forces Tribunal under protective and conniving UPA’.
He also justified his decision to impose a Discipline and Vigilance (DV) ban on Lieutenant General Suhag.

“If unit kills innocents, does dacoity and then head of organization tries to protect them, should he not be blamed? Criminals should go free!!” he wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.

The former army chief's comments came against the backdrop of reports that a unit under Lt Gen Suhag had allegedly carried out killings and dacoities in the North East region.

Lieutenant General Suhag’s appointment was one of the last major decisions cleared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government before it was trounced in the Lok Sabha elections by the BJP.

Lieutenant General Suhag will succeed incumbent Army Chief General Bikram Singh when he retires on July 31.


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