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Bribe offer shocked me out of wits: Army chief

New Delhi(IANS): Indian Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh, in a televised interview telecast Monday, said the “bribe offer” had left him “dumbfounded” and he could not lodge a police complaint against the briber because it was an “indirect method”.

“If a person who has just retired, a few days ago, and tells you while talking on different issues that you will get this thing and when you have not heard something like this, it will leave you dumbfounded. You won’t understand what this person is saying. And that is what happened,” Singh said in a recorded interview to Chauthi Duniya, an internet news portal.

Asked why he didn’t lodge a police complaint which he could have done because Military Police was always around, the army chief said: “You may be right that I should have complained against him. But at that time the way (the bribe was offered), for a while I could not understand what he was saying. It was not like he was giving me bribe in my hand.

“He was telling me that if you clear this file you will get this much of the amount, everybody takes it, what is your problem. In a way it was an indirect method of saying. And that is why he could not be arrested.”

The general said he told the former officer to leave his room and shared the incident with Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

“I went and told the defence minister that this is the situation. He beat his forehead and told me that we should keep these people out,” said the chief who is to retire May 31.
The sensational revelation by the army chief was first reported by The Hindu newspaper following which Antony ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations that he was offered a bribe of Rs.14 crore (Rs. 140 million).

Defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told IANS here that the minister gave the orders after seeing reports of the army chief’s claim in this regard.

“Just imagine, these men had the gumption to walk up to me and tell me that if i cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs. 14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me,” the army chief told The Hindu.

The newspaper said the lobbyist offered him the bribe in order to have a tranche of 600 substandard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase.

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