New Delhi, May 27 (Calcutta Tube) In a major embarrassment for the Indian Army, a military tribunal has ruled that a senior commander had falsified records of the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan that cost a brigadier, who was in the thick of the conflict, a promotion.
The Armed Forces Tribunal found that Lt. Gen. (retd) Kishan Pal’s report on Brigadier (retd) Devinder Singh, who commanded the 70 Infantry Brigade in Batalik during the Kargil war, were not objective.
The military tribunal has asked the army to consider Singh for a notional promotion to major general rank and set the Kargil records straight.
But Pal, who headed the Srinagar-based 15 Corps during the conflict, denied having done anything wrong and said he had written the ‘truth as I saw it’. The 15 Corps is responsible for guarding the Line of Control that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
‘I won’t like to comment on it (the judgment). I have fudged no records. I wrote the confidential report as I saw his performance. The report is unbiased. It was truth as I saw it,’ Pal told reporters.
Pal had written Singh’s annual confidential report allegedly belittling his achievements by noting that he had only partial command of the 70 Infantry Brigade.
Justice A.K. Mathur, in his order, ruled that ‘the annual confidential reports were not written in an objective and unbiased manner’.
The tribunal also directed the Directorate of Military Operations to rewrite portions of ‘Op. Vijay: Account of the War in Kargil’.
A volume of the official history asserts that while ‘the commander 70 Infantry Brigade (Singh) controlled operations on the Western Flank (Jubbar Complex), Deputy (General Officer in Command) GOC 3 Infantry Division controlled the Stangba-Khalubar Ridge operations’.
Singh, in his plea, had challenged the post-Kargil operation report that stated that four of his most successful battalions were commanded by the then Deputy GOC of 3 Infantry Division, Brigadier Ashok Duggal.
‘For reasons best known to Lt. Gen. Kishan Pal, he was favouring and giving credit to Duggal and my command tenure was shown in bad light. I had to suffer a lot because of this,’ Singh told reporters Thursday, a day after the judgment.
He said that as per the tribunal order, he would now be considered for notional promotion to the rank of a major general.
‘The records about the operations by my brigade in the war will also be set straight,’ he said.
An army officer said that they were yet to receive a copy of the tribunal’s copy.
‘As soon as we get it, it will be analysed and action will follow,’ the officer told IANS.
Singh had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2006 challenging Pal’s report and this was transferred to the tribunal when it was created last year.
Meanwhile, former army chief Gen V.P. Malik, who led the forces during the Kargil operation, described the whole episode as an ‘aberration’.
‘To pass a judgement on the entire Indian Army, I think this is unfair. This does not take away the entire good work done by the army. This is an aberration,’ he said in Shillong.
–Indo-Asian New Service