New Delhi, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) The Indian Army will file a review petition on the Armed Forces Tribunal’s order seeking corrections in the official records of the 1999 Kargil war for ‘bias’ against an officer.
A well-informed source Monday told IANS that after analysing all relevant records, the army has decided not to challenge the order in the Supreme Court but seek a review of the judgment in the tribunal itself.
‘We have documents with us to prove that it is contrary. The petition is likely to be moved in the next couple of days,’ said the source in the Army Headquarters, ruling out the war records were biased or fudged.
The records show that there was no reason to correct them as ‘they are based on battle performance reports filed by other senior officers’, the source said.
The tribunal which deals with legal disputes of the armed forces had May 26 ruled that Lt. Gen. (retd) Kishan Pal, the Srinagar-based 15 Corps commander during the Kargil war, had shown bias against Brig. (retd) Devinder Singh who was commanding the 70 Infantry Brigade during the conflict with Pakistan.
‘We will seek quashing of the AAR and Kargil account, but will not challenge the expunging of the ACR written by Lt. Gen. Pal,’ the source said.
The source also said the army doesn’t believe that Singh was overlooked for a promotion to the rank of major general because of the ACRs by Pal.
Singh was given five opportunities before a promotion board between 2002 and 2006, two more than an officer gets in the normal course entitled to, but he failed to qualify, said the source.
‘Promotions are not based on any one event. It is based on his entire career and he did not make it to the next post based on his overall profile and comparative batch merit,’ he said.
Singh had complained that his performance during the conflict had been assessed incorrectly, which eventually cost him a war medal and a promotion to the rank of major general.
The retired brigadier claimed that he was cited for award of the Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest gallantry medal, but was instead given the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), a peacetime honour.
‘The army has examined the situation reports and found that no distortion has been made,’ the source said, adding the records, available with the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), have been reexamined in the aftermath of the tribunal verdict.
Among the records, the tribunal wanted to be corrected was a paragraph in the After Action Report (AAR) of the war and two other paragraphs of the Kargil account.
The tribunal, headed by Justice A.K. Mathur, said that Pal had distorted a subordinate’s performance reports, which went into the writing of the war history.
The tribunal had also held that ‘the annual confidential reports (ACR) (of Singh) were not written in an objective and unbiased manner’ by Pal and asked the army to modify its records to give Singh credit for the victory in Kargil’s Batalik sector.