Lt Gen D R Soni, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Bathinda-based 10 Corps and Lt Gen P S Mehta, GOC of Bhopal-based 21 Corps (Strike Corps) of the Army are being relieved of their appointments without their next postings in hand.
While Lt Gen Soni has been given extended joining time and attached to headquarters of South Western Command in Jaipur, Lt Gen Mehta, too, is put on a similar extended joining time and sent on 45-day leave while being attached with Army Headquarters till further orders.The postings of the successors of both the officers had been issued earlier this month and they would take over on July 1.
With the postings of the present Corps Commanders not yet known till yesterday, a piquant situation had been created till both got their attachment orders today.
Both, Lt Gen Soni and Lt Gen Mehta, belong to the armoured corps and the news of their attachments without permanent postings has sent the veteran armoured corps officers fraternity in a tizzy.
Various motives were being abscribed to the development by the veteran cavalry officers in social media forums expressing indignation at the move.
Senor officers in Army Headquarters, however, justified the development, saying Lt Gen Soni was slated to pick up the appointment of an Army Commander or equivalent on August 1 and since there was no such post vacant at the moment he had to wait for a month. Likewise, it was said that Lt Gen Mehta had to be posted in New Delhi but the vacancy would arise only by end of July, so he too has been attached in New Delhi.
However, the justification has not cut much ice with the veterans’ community, who question why both the Generals could not have been relieved a month later in case they had to wait for their next posting.
“What was the hurry to send them on forced leave of sorts for 45 days and why
could they not continue in office? There is something wrong,” said Major Guneet Chaudhary, a former armoured corps officer.
This is the second time that GOC 21 Corps, Lt Gen Mehta, has been left high and dry for a posting. Earlier, in 2014, he was promoted as a Lt General in Western Command, Chandimandir, while holding the post of Major General instead of being posted as a Corps Commander. Eventually, when he got his posting it was not as a Corps Commander but as Commandant of Armoured Corps Centre and School. By the time he took over as GOC 21 Corps, he lost out on the chance to become an Army Commander as he no longer had the residual service of two years to hold that appointment.