Vice Admiral Bimal Verma again moves Armed Forces Tribunal against Karambir Singh’s appointment as Navy chief

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Vice Admiral Bimal Verma again moves Armed Forces Tribunal against Karambir Singh's appointment as Navy chiefNEW DELHI: Vice Admiral Bimal Verma again moved the Armed Forces Tribunal on Tuesday, challenging the appointment of his junior Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next Indian Navy chief.

Earlier this month, Verma had moved the AFT challenging Singh’s appointment. However, on April 9 he withdrew his petition after the tribunal asked him to first file his complaint with the government and then approach it. It had taken note that the petitioners have not exhausted the alternative remedy, which is filing a statutory complaint under section 23 of the Indian Navy Act. Under the section, a complaint can be given to the central government if the complainant is not satisfied with the decision on his complaint.

On April 10, Verma filed the statutory complaint on the matter, addressed to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He had sought that a decision be taken on it in 10 days. “Ten days have lapsed and there has been no response from the defence ministry. We moved the AFT on Tuesday and the matter will come up for hearing,” said the officer’s daughter, Rhea Verma, who is a lawyer and is representing him with advocate, Ankur Chhibber.

Verma, is the incumbent Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command. The issue comes at a time when the navy is conducting its commanders’ conference to strategise in the wake of military tensions between India and Pakistan. He along with Singh are attending the conference. Singh is currently the Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.

Verma in his earlier petition had said that the government in an ‘arbitrary’ and ‘whimsical’ manner on March 23 appointed Singh as the next Navy Chief, despite the incumbent Chief of Naval Staff recommending Verma for the post. Singh is junior to Verma, who will be the senior-most officer in the navy after Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba retires on May 31.