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Bimal Verma again moves military court challenging appointment of Karambir Singh as Navy Chief

twitter-logoPTI | April 23, 2019 | Updated 22:08 IST

New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) Vice Admiral Bimal Verma on Tuesday once again moved a military tribunal challenging appointment of Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next chief of naval staff after the defence ministry did not respond to his statutory complaint, official sources said. Verma, commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on April 8, but withdrew his petition the next day after the tribunal told him to first explore "internal remedies". Verma, the senior most naval commander, is contesting appointment of his junior Vice Admiral Singh to the top post. In his fresh petition, Verma said he had filed a statutory complaint with the defence ministry, challenging appointment of Vice Admiral Singh as the next navy chief, and asked it to respond within 10 days. He said he was approaching the AFT as the ministry is yet to reply to his petition. Vice Admiral Verma is in Delhi to attend the naval commanders' conference which was inaugurated by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday. In his petition, Verma wondered why he was overlooked for the top post despite being the senior-most in the line of command, terming as "wrongful" the government's decision to appoint Vice Admiral Singh to the post. His petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Thursday. The government had last month named Singh as the next chief of naval staff, to succeed Admiral Sunil Lanba who retires on May 30. The government made the selection following a merit-based approach and did not go with the tradition of appointing the senior-most eligible officer to the post. Verma is senior to Singh and was among the contenders for the top post. While appointing the Army chief in 2016, the government did not follow the long-held tradition of going by seniority. Bipin Rawat was appointed Army chief superseding then Eastern Command Chief Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Command Chief PM Hariz. Besides Verma, the other contenders for the Navy Chief post included Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, FOC-in-C of Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar and FOC-in-C of Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla. Singh, who is at present serving as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam, will be the first helicopter pilot to become chief of naval staff. Vice Admiral Verma is brother of former Navy chief Nirmal Kumar Verma. PTI MPB RT

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