No difference with Defence Ministry: Army Chief

New Delhi: Denying any differences with the Defence Ministry on his age issue, Army Chief General V K Singh today said it was his "personal" matter and had nothing to do with the organisation.

"It is a purely personal issue and I desist from making any public comment on the issue… When there were no differences (with the Defence Ministry) at any point of time (on the age issue), how can they be now," he told reporters on the sidelines of an NCC event.

The Army Chief was asked if he has still kept the option of approaching the courts on the issue of his date of birth open and whether he had any differences with the Ministry on the matter. Gen Singh, however, did not clarify whether he would approach the courts or not.

The Defence Ministry has twice rejected Gen Singh`s claim of accepting May 10, 1951 as his date of birth, which would have given him an extension of ten months in office. The Army Chief has two sets of date of birth in the records. The records with Adjutant General`s branch show it to be May 10, 1951 whereas the Military Secretary`s branch records it to be May 10, 1950.

Asked if the `chapter` over his age issue was over, Gen Singh said, "I don`t know whether the chapter was open or has been closed. This is a personal issue and I will not comment on it."

When pointed out that he had given interviews recently on his age issue, the Army Chief said, "That was part of army day fixtures. If somebody has breached the trust, you are there to ask… please ask your colleagues why it has appeared and what has appeared, I have got nothing to do with it."

Asked about reports suggesting Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh`s alleged involvement in a fake encounter case in 2004 in Jammu and Kashmir and whether this would affect his chances of becoming the next Army chief, Gen Sigh said, "I have no clue about it." "This report is with you (media). When it comes to us, after that only we can tell you that what can be done with that," he added.

Lt Gen Bikram Singh is the frontrunner to succeed Gen V K Singh as the next Army Chief after the latter`s retirement on May 31.