New Delhi, Mar 17: India's Army Chief Gen V K Singh, whose date of birth was mired in a huge controversy, has alleged that a "lot of money" was spent by people within the force to get a "false" birth certificate and tarnish his image as he had stopped their wrongdoings.
He said he had evidence that people within the Army were behind the "derogatory and completely fake" stories against him and action was being taken against them.
"A lot of people went on a drive to tarnish my image because they were not happy with the cleansing action I had taken. You will be surprised to know the amount of money which was spent to get the false certificate about my date of birth," Gen Singh told The Week magazine.
Asked who was spending the money to defame him, he responded, "There were a large number of people. A lot of money was given to a lot of people to do stories against me. The stories were derogatory and completely fake."
When pointed out that one retired Lt General has already been accused of plotting against him, he said, "He was not the only one. We have identified a number of people."
He said, "We have evidence of how documents were leaked and how much money was given" and that they were within the Army.
Queried whether he was surprised that serving officers were working against him, the Army Chief said, "In a large organisation like ours, you will always have people who feel left out. There were people who were doing wrong things but after we stopped those things, they turned against me."
"We have evidence and necessary action is being taken," Gen Singh said, adding, "If someone has betrayed the Army, there will be punishment. This is the rule of the Army."
Gen Singh was mired in a huge controversy over his date of birth. The Army's two branches -- Adjutant General Branch and Military Secretary Branch -- had two sets of dates of his birth -- one having May 10, 1951 and another May 10, 1950.
He always maintained that his actual year of birth was 1951, which would give him nine-month extension from May-end this year, and dragged the government to the Supreme Court on this. However, he lost the legal battle there and will hence retire in May.
Asked about his relationship with Defence Minister A K Antony, the Army chief said, "He was always good to me" and "there has never been a single difference" between them.
"I was plain-spoken with him and he appreciated that," Gen Singh said.
Whether that relationship was good despite the bugging controversy, he asserted that there was no bugging.
"The fact is that our team came across some discrepancies while checking the Defence Minister's room on February 16," he said, adding Director General of Military Intelligence then informed Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma about it and recommended to him to seek the help of other agencies to verify why there were discrepancies.
"If the suspicion was on the military, the Defence Minister would have stopped MI (military intelligence) from checking his room. We still conduct checking of his room."