General fires smear salvo

Lt Gen. Praveen Bakshi, who was superseded in the selection of the army chief, has alleged there was a "malicious campaign" to smear his name ahead of the appointment of Gen. Bipin Rawat last month.

By PTI and Our Bureau
  • Published 13.01.17
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Lt Gen. Praveen Bakshi

Jan. 12: Lt Gen. Praveen Bakshi, who was superseded in the selection of the army chief, has alleged there was a "malicious campaign" to smear his name ahead of the appointment of Gen. Bipin Rawat last month.

In a speech he had purportedly made on New Year's Eve and which was played by India Today channel, Bakshi referred to anonymous letters that complained about his functioning as the Eastern Army Commander.

"There was not one letter, but many written over a period of five to six months about my functioning and making some allegations. When you look into these letters, at least one I had.... talked that I was hobnobbing with industrialists promoting some personal interest.... It was all to malign my name."

According to the purported transcript, Bakshi said he was led to believe that "there was somebody from my command who was talking, who was giving information, lending credence to the information, assisting them...."

Explaining why he was not resigning, Bakshi said there were no "skeletons in his closet", he had no aspirations for any future appointment and he wanted to get to the bottom of the smear campaign.

"I would like to tell my own command that there has been a malicious campaign to smear my name... and a very deep-rooted conspiracy. Who was it? Why did they do it? What was the motive? Is exactly not clear," he said.

Bakshi added: "I have no reason to believe that our chief-designate... is involved in this nonsense...."

According to the transcript on the India Today website, Bakshi described his appointment as a "political decision" but added that he was "completely in agreement" with it and "shall abide by it".

He added: "I myself have said that promotions to higher rank have to be seniority-cum-merit, I have no doubt about it. And this is what I reiterated to the honourable Raksha Mantri (defence minister)."

Sources said Bakshi had initially wanted to greet senior officers of the Eastern Command on New Year's Eve but it became a bigger event that covered the brigade headquarters and all divisions. Accordingly, a video-conference was organised.

Eastern Command did not respond officially to reports on the purported speech till this evening.