NEW DELHI, March 27 � Caught in the middle of a raging row over atttempt to bribe in a military deal, Defence Minister AK Antony today sought to shift the blame on Army Chief Gen VK Singh for not taking any action but faced some close questioning in the Rajya Sabha over the issue, reports PTI.
A day after media reported the Army Chief�s claim that a retired official offered him a bribe of Rs.14 crore for swinging a deal for purchase of trucks, Antony took the floor to confirm that Gen Singh had told him about retired Lt Gen Tejender Singh�s bribe offer.
�This happened more than one year ago. That is my memory. Exact date they (army officials) know because no one can meet the Army Chief without any appointment,� he said adding he was �shocked� and told Gen Singh to take action.
�But he told me I do not want to pursue it. I don�t know why he did not want to pursue it at that time,� he said.
Antony promised action against anybody, howsoever powerful he may be, who would be found guilty.
However, the minister faced some tough questions from the BJP members including Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley and a CPI(M) member T K Rangarajan as to why he did not follow it up with action.
The members said they did not question Antony�s integrity but wondered why neither Antony nor the Army chief took any action on the development that took place more than a year ago.
�I acted on my judgement. If I am wrong, you may punish me. I think I have done my best,� he said.
When asked about his inaction, Antony said it has been his policy to take action even on anonymous complaints but in this case there was nothing in writing.
Antony said when he read about the allegations in a newspaper yesterday, he immediately told the Defence Secretary to take action without waiting for any formal complaint.
Since then CBI inquiry has been ordered for a comprehensive probe. �CBI will inquire into everything,� he said.
Taking the minister on his statement, Jaitley said there seemed to be lack of statecraft on the part of the government on many issues and this was one such.
�Is this an issue on which both of them should have put blinkers on their eyes and not inquired into the matter at all,� Jaitley said about the army chief orally bringing the issue to the notice of the defence minister.