AK Antony
Defense Minister AK Antony.Reuters

The Army Chief VK Singh has kicked off a fresh controversy by making a stunning revelation about a bid to bribe him that ignited an outrage in Parliament on Monday. Meanwhile, visibly perplexed Defence Minister AK Antony has ordered a CBI probe into the charges levelled by Singh.

Talking to a national English daily, The Hindu, Singh said that a equipment lobbyist contacted him and offered a sum of Rs 14 crore to pass sub-standard equipments, which he reported to the Defence Minister.

The lobbyist offered me the bribe in order to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase," VK Singh quoted by The Hindu as saying.

"The vehicles, 7000 of which were already in use in the Army, had been sold over the years at exorbitant prices with no questions asked. Meanwhile, there was no proper facility where they could be serviced and maintained and yet they continued to be sold to the Army," he added.

 "Just imagine, one of 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, to the Army Chief. He told me that people had taken money before me and they will take money after me," vented Singh.

Antony, who has come under the fire after Singh's allegations, is now being questioned by the opposition over his inaction in all these months after Singh reported the matter to him.

Without making any comments on whether Singh informed him about the bribe bid, Antony simply said, "It is a serious allegation." 

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari passing the buck on to Singh said the nature of the allegation is serious and in such an event the Army Chief should have initiated criminal probe against those who had offered the bribe.

Yes. Tiwari may have a point. The Army Chief should have sought for a criminal proceedings on those offering the bribe. Now the question is why he was quiet all these days?

"It is a crime to offer bribe to a government servant and this episode is shameful," he added.

This controversy rocked Parliament proceedings on Monday, forcing the speaker to adjourn the House over the ruckus created by Opposition members.