New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Political parties across the spectrum Monday said Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh should have filed a complaint earlier about his allegation that he was offered a bribe, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Defence Minister A.K. Antony's 'indecision' could have been a reason for it.
Talking to reporters in the Parliament House complex, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh said he was 'aware' of the defence minister's nature and added that 'taking a decision is the toughest thing for him to do'.
'I am disappointed that he (Singh) came directly to the press, but did he do this after disappointment,' Singh told reporters here.
'I have known the defence minister for long, he specialises in indecision... Is it because of his (defence minister's) indecision that the army chief had to go to media,' Singh questioned, demanding that the minister come out with a clarification.
He, however, added that the army chief should not have come out in the open with his allegation.
According to an interview published in newspaper 'The Hindu' Monday, Singh said a lobbyist offered him a bribe of Rs.14 crore to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase. Defence Minister A.K. Antony has ordered a CBI inquiry into the matter.
Another BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu also questioned why no action was taken for so long.
'It is a very serious matter, and that is why we wanted the government to come forward and make a statement. The army chief said he has already informed the matter to the defence minister, if so what is the action taken by the minister... what has the government done so far about the issue,' asked Naidu.
But he added: 'I do agree that the army chief should have filed a complaint and it is unusual for an army chief to make such a statement in public.'
The Congress party attacked Singh, asking why he kept quiet for so long and didn't lodge a complaint.
'It is really unfortunate. Being a government official and head of the Indian Army, he should have registered an FIR if someone came to him and offered a bribe,' said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja questioned the timing of the revelations.
'Why is he telling all these things now? What was he doing all along in the past? How come somebody has approached a general and tried to bribe him. When he can go to the Supreme Court for his age row, why could he not tell this information to the country? These are all genuine issues, which the general should answer,' he said.
Another CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the party knew about the monetary irregularities in the defence deal but did not have any proof.
Hinting at the army chief's age row, Dasgupta said: 'The army chief revealed it to the nation when something happened to him.'