V.K. Singh makes final bid to derail Army succession

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Yusuf, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    he first and the loudest to complain against news of the outgoing Manmohan Singh government initiating the process to select a new Army chief was General V.K. Singh, now transitioning to full-time politics as a BJP Lok Sabha contestant.

    The protest was strange, particularly coming from a former Army chief himself. The long-established Indian tradition in appointing service chiefs is about respecting seniority, irrespective of which government is in power. Supersessions are a rare exception. In fact, Gen V.K. Singh himself is a beneficiary of this tradition. He was made Army chief on 1 April 2010, despite grave reservations expressed on record by his predecessor, Gen Deepak Kapoor, whose apprehensions were borne out by V.K. Singh's tumultuous and very controversial tenure.

    Now, after the calm of V.K. Singh's successor Gen Bikram Singh's tenure, which is due to end in July, the succession tumult is returning to haunt the Army.

    The current Vice-Chief, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, will be the senior-most Army officer when Bikram Singh retires, and by dint of seniority and tradition, is the front-runner for Army chief, no matter which government is selecting a chief. And unlike the recent case of the Navy, where the senior-most Vice-Admiral, Shekhar Sinha was overlooked on grounds of "moral responsibility" following a spate of accidents under his command, there's no such obstacle in Suhag's path.

    General V.K. Singh's objections would, thus, appear curious, unless seen in context. In case Suhag is discredited as a UPA favourite or otherwise ruled out, the next-in-line for appointment as chief is the Southern Army Commander, Lt Gen Ashok Singh, who is related to V.K. Singh through marriage. V.K. Singh's daughter is married to Ashok Singh's son.

    While in office, Gen V.K. Singh targeted both Bikram Singh and Suhag with a ferocity which stunned even the biggest cynics in the Army. V.K. Singh not just disapproved of both Bikram and Suhag, but his tenure coincided with determined campaigns to derail the careers of both these officers who were in line to succeed him.

    Curiously, Ashok Singh would be the beneficiary if either Bikram or Suhag's careers were aborted.

    Training his guns first at Bikram, V.K. Singh had openly slammed the succession chain, which his supporters claimed had been rigged to put Sikhs as Army chiefs (incidentally, Suhag is not a Sikh). He pointed fingers at former Army chief, Gen J.J. Singh, incidentally the first Sikh Army chief, for having patronised a communal succession chain, also insinuating that this had the blessings of the Sikh Prime Minister. This charge was strongly denied by Gen J.J. Singh, who, ironically put V.K. Singh in the succession chain by promoting him Lt Gen in 2006. The baseline for an officer to come in contention for the post of Army chief is promotion to the rank of Lt General. Thereafter, how far an officer progresses is a factor of his age relative to those of his peers. There is no deep selection after promotion to 3-star rank (Lt General). Bikram Singh was promoted Lt General during the tenure of General Deepak Kapoor, who was not known to see eye-to-eye with J.J. Singh.

    It was even loudly alleged by V.K. Singh's supporters that Bikram Singh was related to the Prime Minister through his wife. This was factually incorrect.

    The campaign against Bikram Singh was given a distinctly communal overtone, but Bikram Singh was to face even more vicious charges. It was alleged, first by whisper and innuendo and then through a PIL, that he faked an encounter in Kashmir. The PIL was filed in the J&K High Court by an unknown NGO, which was later probed for its sources of funding which were allegedly linked to a rogue unit in Military Intelligence.

    Bikram Singh's detractors even made an issue of his Muslim daughter-in-law, by wrongly insinuating that she was a Pakistani.

    Had Bikram Singh not made it as Army chief, the next-in-line to succeed V.K. Singh would have been Lt Gen K.T. Parnaik, whose retirement schedule would have put V.K. Singh kin, Lt Gen Ashok Singh as the frontrunner after him.

    Bikram Singh survived the campaign against him, unprecedented in the Indian Army for its viciousness and communal colour. It was then that Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag came in the line of fire.

    In March 2012, on the day the then Chinese President Hu Jintao was in New Delhi for the BRICS Summit, Gen V.K. Singh asked the CBI to probe Dalbir Suhag for alleged corruption in the procurement of parachutes during his tenure as Inspector General in the China-specific special force, the SFF. India has always denied to the Chinese the existence of this force, and ironically, the cover was blown off this secret force by V.K. Singh. This organisation was all over the headlines the day Hu Jintao was in town. The CBI threw out this complaint as frivolous.

    V.K. Singh reserved his frontal assault on Dalbir Singh Suhag for the last week of his tenure. On the basis of a complaint of theft of a mobile during a low-level Military Intelligence raid on a suspected ULFA hideout led by a female captain in Jorhat in late 2011, V.K. Singh put Dalbir Singh on a promotion ban (Discipline & Vigilance ban) without first subjecting him to an inquiry. Dalbir, then commander of 3 Corps, was accused of lapse of command. Despite approval by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet of his promotion to the rank of Army Commander, which would put him in the line of succession, he was rendered ineligible by this unexpected ban by V.K. Singh. This ban was revoked by General Bikram Singh soon after taking over as chief.

    No prizes for guessing who the immediate beneficiary of the relegation of Dalbir Singh Suhag would have been: Lt Gen Ashok Singh.

    An Army court of inquiry ultimately ended with indicting a havaldar for stealing a mobile during the Jorhat raid, on the basis of which V.K. Singh wanted to unsettle the chain of succession to the post of Army chief.

    Another interesting nugget on the V.K. Singh-Ashok Singh bonding was the troop movement to the outskirts of Delhi in January 2012 which "spooked" the UPA government and left it suspecting the intention of the Army chief at the height of his confrontation with the government over his age. A regiment of armoured vehicles from the Hisar-based 33 Armoured Division was moved to Delhi's periphery, causing much consternation and making the Defence Secretary summon the DG Military Operations to explain the movement. This unit was under 1 Corps, which was then commanded by Lt Gen Ashok Singh. V.K. Singh's headquarters dismissed this as a routine exercise. A bit curiously, neither the South-Western Army Commander (to which 1 Corps reports) nor the Western Army Commander (under whose command the Delhi Area falls) was aware of this movement when the matter was brought to their notice by intelligence agencies.

    Gen V.K. Singh's renewed attack on Dalbir Singh comes in the final stages of the Defence Ministry processing the succession after Gen Bikram Singh. V.K. Singh has reiterated his severe reservations on Dalbir Singh, a soldier of humble origins, who is now being painted by some as a UPA general.

    http://www.sunday-guardian.com/news/vk-singh-makes-final-bid-to-derail-army-succession
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    That is not true.

    Even the latest CNS Robin Dhowan has superseded his senior!

    Coincidentally enough, the last time supersession had triggered a big controversy also involved a Sinha, and that too from the same hometown of Patna. Indira Gandhi had superseded Lt-Gen S K Sinha to appoint Gen A S Vaidya as the Army chief in 1983. Another instance was in 1988 when Air Chief Marshal S K Mehra became IAF chief by superseding Air Marshal M M Singh. Both Sinha and Singh had then immediately resigned.
    Admiral Robin Dhowan new Navy chief. Superseded officer quits? - The Times of India

    It is important that this be investigated and the truth revealed.

    Those who have spread this canard should be taken to task.

    Or if it is true, then action taken against those who are the culprits.

    The fact that the UPA Govt did not and does not ant to investigate is because they are aware it is a total lie and maybe they have initiated this lie to damn VK Singh and so don't want to get exposed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
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  4. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Gen VK Singh as the service chief had imposed a DV (discipline and vigilance) promotion ban on Lt Gen Suhag just before retiring in 2012. The ban was imposed on the grounds that he had “abdicated responsibility” while handling an intelligence operation in a unit under his command in the North-East. The ban was revoked by Gen Bikram Singh following which Gen Suhag got his promotion.

    Gen VK Singh, who is now contesting from the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha segment on the BJP ticket, said the norms are being bypassed while making appointments.

    “Following the DV ban (in Suhag’s case), a court martial found all guilty even though the punishment did not commensurate the charge,” said VK Singh.

    Besides Lt Gen Suhag, other generals in the seniority list include Lt Gen Anil Chait, serving as the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff and Lt Gen Ashok Singh
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    VK Singh should not embroil himself in this issue.

    He can be taken to be an 'interested party', given his previous actions as far as Suhag is concerned and the next in line thereafter, said to be a relation.
     
  6. Rahul M

    Rahul M Regular Member

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    we are supposed to believe vishal thapar of all people ? even prasun sengupta is more objective.

    this one reads like another of his hatchet jobs (earlier ones were against DRDO).

    the coup story is the stupidest piece on the army written in India's history. it was a completely made up allegation. routine report from IB about troop movements was given a dubious spin by the politicos with help from shekhar gupta in order to further their vendetta against the person who had shut down their gravy train.

    meanwhile, from tweeter :
    Vijay Kumar Singh [email protected]_VKSingh 56m

    Not sure whether to be more insulted vis-a-vis the implication that I am daft enough to push for kin on national television OR the other..
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
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  7. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    One of two things

    1) Congress going out of its way to ensure that a Lt Gen close to V K Singh is not made chief, lest he fully co-operate to excavate Congress skeletons in army defence deals cupboard

    2) V K Singh trying to promote his kin.


    So either I trust sonia or I trust a former Army Chief ... hmmm ...
     
  8. Rahul M

    Rahul M Regular Member

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    occam's razor.
     
  9. Rahul M

    Rahul M Regular Member

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    hmmm. pretty sure VKS isn't behind this.
     
  10. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

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    They are all Army to the core to serve India regardless of who comes to power. I hoped they kept our armed forces out of their powerplay politics:tsk:
     
  11. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    foolish and selfish VK singh wants his samdhi (kurum)to be next army chief..



    what if this man win election and if BJP comes in power he might become defense minister.


    phir allah hi malik ha indian army ka
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
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  12. Why BJP will keep General VK Singh at arm’s length




    Former Army Chief and now BJP candidate from Ghaziabad, General VK Singh, is no stranger to controversies. After wading through the long list of questions which were raised by both, the judiciary and media alike, Singh is back in the news, this time criticising the outgoing UPA government’s decision to appoint Admiral RK Dhowan as the new Navy Chief, and continuing the process of appointing Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as the new Chief of Army.

    In a recent article in The Sunday Guardian titled ‘VK Singh makes final bid to derail army succession’, journalist Vishal Thapar highlighted instances that showcase Singh as a person who managed to bring vengeful politics and communal opportunism within the top ranks of the Indian Army. Thapar portrays Singh as an uncharacteristic soldier, who looked to benefit familial ties within the army and went to what seem like great lengths to make his agendas successful. These lengths include the audacious report of an army troop movement near Delhi which “spooked” the government.

    After his retirement from the army, these very traits of General Singh were seen in the political sphere as he tried to make space for himself. First, he tried to make his space in the early parts of whatever it was that was brewing between Anna Hazare and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). In fact, General Singh even approached experts for help in order to create a proper strategy route-map for what he was hoping was going to be a new political front. However, as the Hazare-Banerjee ship sank, Gen Singh managed to make his way into the BJP instead.

    For the BJP, inducting Gen Singh was not a tough decision in view of their ticket distribution policy, which is based on a ‘whichever candidate can win’ point of view. Plus, the General’s Rajput background was ideal for the Ghaziabad seat, which was vacated by another BJP veteran who is a Rajput, and whose name is also now cropping up for the post of India’s next defence minister. Though doubts remain whether Gen Singh will actually win in Ghaziabad, a seat where the BSP is also expected to make an impact this time, the hope that his army background will attract votes has been seen as a clever move. Irrespective of his troublesome background in the ranks, electorally in a place like Ghaziabad, all such matters that made news in New Delhi would not have had a big impact at the polling booths.

    However, opinions suggesting that Gen Singh will be awarded with a plush post if Narendra Modi was to become the prime minister, such as defence as some passing remarks suggest, are far-fetched and devoid of logic. The reasons behind this are many, including the institutional practices of the BJP as a party itself.

    Gen Singh is a new entrant into the party, and this will drop his chances of being picked up for any major assignment in a new BJP-led government ahead of the party’s career politicians. Second, Narendra Modi, in his defence and foreign affairs bend, will look to have a bold and scientific policy, which is traditionally expected of a BJP-led government. Gen Singh’s hawkish personality will not be seen as an ideal fit. Third, his skewed service record and the general unease that his name creates within the bureaucracy, specifically in the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Army, will work heavily against him. Lastly, culturally speaking, major posts in a BJP government are given to well-tested candidates who also have the blessings of the RSS.

    Gen Singh is technically perfectly cut out for a life in politics. However, the fact that he first showcased these traits in a sacrosanct institution such as the Indian Army has created big stumbling blocks for him for a successful and far-reaching political career, at least in the immediate future.

    The BJP will hope for his win in Ghaziabad and that is the region where Gen Singh will be contained in as far as party work is concerned, although his expertise will come in use for the government in areas such as parliamentary committees and so on. If Narendra Modi does become the next occupant of 7 Race Course Road, he will be coming into power bearing the weight of huge expectations on his shoulders. The margin of error for Modi will be next to nil, and to protect himself, he will build his decision-making circle with faces he trusts without question. People, in the opposing political parties, the public and certain colleagues of his within the BJP, will be waiting for one misstep to seize an opportunity for themselves, and Modi will be made to work hard to avoid giving away any such opportunities.


    Why BJP will keep General VK Singh at arm’s length | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
     
  13. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    The question can also be reversed

    Why is the Congress in so much hurry to appoint a new army chief

    What is so special about Lt Gen Suhag

    The new army chief will take office on August 1

    So the new govt which will take charge by 20 th MAY can appoint a new chief
     
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  14. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    Taking no stand here ..I feel there is merit for consideration on both sides...

    The congress will need to appoint the COAS..we cannot wait on elections to leave hundred of things left undone for the incoming government( irrespective of party) to muddle through. The head of the third largest standing army is not that simple a task.

    BUT IMPORTANTLY I believe personally that Gen VK Singh is a man of conviction who fights for what he feels it right...case in point the bribe scandal that he brought out..and also the sorry state of ammunitions and maintenance in the Military...A statement that can be sadly taken in consideration in the sister arms NAVY's current debacles.
    ..VISHAL THAPAR according to me in reading his articles is the perfect man for the hatchet job..he claims NO PROOF just insinuations about sinister family connections...ulterior motive assigned to GEN Singh...AGAIN WITH NO PROOF...going on and on ....EVEN GEN BIKRAM SINGH who GEN VK Singh opposed said that the army under NO conditions has at any point of time tried to act against the GOVT.

    I will believe GEN Singh a hundred times before accepting Vishal Thapars views.
    The ARMY is also the reflection of the society there can be few bad apples.. That as the then COAS VK Singh took DA against a officer and the Army Court found enough Evidence to do a court Martial trail is a Very business. that same officer Dalbir Singh Suhag is now the senior most and has been re instated is even more disturbing...!!!
     
  15. It seems General VK Singh is quite popular here, but I have my reservations

    For an Army General his tenure was too full of controversies to say the least, most of them of his own making, the ugliest of which was the dispute regarding his date of birth, Whereby he became the first army officer to take the Government to the court, this after he had accepted his original date of birth in the records without equivocation when due for promotion in 2008

    Thankfully he lost the case but not before even the Supreme Court had to note that it was highly improper for a man holding one of the most prestigious posts in the country be making such an attempt to lengthen his tenure at this stage of his career.

    Imagine if all incumbents to the top post start making writ petitions to have their D.O.B reviewed after having secured the position !

    As for the Armsgate scandal, it really bothers me as to why an Army chief has to contact the press regarding such a matter, IMO it is best if such sensitive matters are handled well with in the department themselves, I can see no other purpose being served here by involving the press except to show himself in a good light after the shameful controversy earlier.

    I will try to say as little as possible about the incident involving troop movement to the outskirts of Delhi in January 2012 , except that if the Govt didn't pursue the matter any further it was only perhaps to save the Army and themselves from a huge embarrassment both domestically and abroad.

    Finally the matter of his joining politics right after retirement:
    While there is nothing technically wrong with him aligning himself with a political party right after the end of his tenure , such an action shows that General VK Singh was hardly an apolitical soldier of the nation during his incumbency as soldiers are meant to be.
    Army and the Judiciary are two institutions best kept as far away from politics as possible , if the reliability and integrity of these two institutions is to be maintained.

    None of the above is a precedent one would like to see in a man heading the dignified organisation representing the majesty of our nation.

    I would be very grateful if BJP keeps General VK Singh well away from any position of influence in matters concerning our Army if it comes to power.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
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  16. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    General Sherman agrees.

    [​IMG] “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

    And so would General Sheridan.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?n...TkxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=W2YDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5050,2565049
     
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  17. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Believe me, we have our own American generals who should have stayed out of politics; at least one example is the odious Colin Powell.

    Although, our last good president was Eisenhower, IMHO.
     
  18. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Why the New Army Chief Should be Named by the New Government

    Nitin Gokhale

    Why the New Army Chief Should be Named by the New Government | NDTV.com

    Nitin Gokhale is Security and Strategic Affairs Editor, News, at NDTV)

    As the country reaches the denouement of perhaps the longest elections in recent memory, two seemingly unrelated but important events occurred on Monday.

    One, the outgoing UPA government decided not to go ahead with constituting the 'Snoopgate' commission to investigate allegations of spying on a woman against Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister.

    Two, a writ petition that made the Indian Army's Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag a key respondent in an alleged fake encounter case filed in the Manipur High Court, was dismissed on technical grounds, leaving the petitioners an option to file another application in the Gauhati High Court on a later date.

    I talk about both these events in the same breath because the UPA government had gone to the Election Commission asking for its permission on both counts. It is interesting that the UPA brains trust decided not to go ahead with the 'Snoopgate' commission although the Election Commission (EC) had given it the clearance to do so. Moreover, many of the ruling Congress' stalwarts had emphatically declared last week that the government will constitute the panel before May 16, the day votes are counted, come what may.

    The Defence Ministry has sought clearance from the EC to appoint the successor to Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh, who retires on July 31. Lt Gen Suhag, being the senior-most officer, is widely seen as the man who will take over the Indian Army on August 1.

    The Election Commission is likely to take a call on clearing the process for the appointment of the next Army Chief any day this week, although as of now there appears to be a divide within the commission on the issue after the defence ministry resubmitted its query. At least one of the three-members is of the view that the current government must not name the next Army Chief.

    In late March, the Election Commission had made it clear that the Model Code of Conduct "is not applicable to any matter pertaining directly to the defence forces, be it in the recruitments/promotion for defence forces...and consequently no reference need be sent to the Commission pertaining to the model code in these matters..."

    So why did the Defence Ministry, led by the ultra-cautious -- some call him timid -- AK Antony refer the matter to the Election Commission? One theory doing the rounds is that Antony, as is his wont, does not want to risk any decision in the face of the BJP's stand that all important appointments must be left to the next government and is therefore taking the shelter of technicalities.

    So, if the EC gives a go ahead, Antony can use the clearance to say "I went through the proper channel." And if it declines permission, the minister can throw up his hands and say '"what can I do. The EC did not permit us, even though we wanted to appoint the next Army Chief!"

    Whatever the reason, for the first time in many years the appointment of the Army Chief has got embroiled in a political battle and an unseemly controversy that both the government and the Opposition could have avoided.

    There are two compelling reasons why the Army Chief's appointment can wait. One is the question of legitimacy versus legality. Legally, the government can go ahead and name the next Army Chief, since the UPA-II is neither a defeated government nor a care-taker government.

    But given that we are less than a fortnight away from election results, there is the question of the government's legitimacy. Propriety demands that the outgoing government leave all important decisions -- financial and administrative -- to the incoming government. By that count, the current government might as well complete the process of appointing the next Army Chief, but must leave the announcement to the new government.

    As fellow defence beat journalist Ajay Banerjee of The Tribune points out, there exists a precedent for this situation. The outgoing NDA government processed the file for the appointment of a new Navy Chief during election time in May 2004, but it was left to the UPA-I government to announce the name of Adm. Arun Prakash as the next Chief of Naval Staff on June 1, 2004 (see Press Information Bureau English Releases), exactly 10 days after the Manmohan Singh government had taken charge on May 22, 2004.

    Arun Prakash took over on August 1, 2004.

    Whoever is the next incumbent as the Chief of Army Staff -- and there is no indication that the next government will go against the seniority principle -- will start his innings on a strong wicket if the announcement is made by the fresh government in Delhi. He will then not carry the baggage of being the previous government's man. A new government will have more than 10 days to name the next COAS.

    And finally, this sequence of events will help keep the Army and by extension the armed forces out of politics.

    Hopefully, all stakeholders will show the maturity to handle this delicate matter deftly.

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this blog are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing on the blog do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Army should not be embroiled in this controversy.

    It would be better that the process be done by the UPA and the announcement by the next Govt as it was done in the case of Adm Arun Prakash,
     
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