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Army orders inquiry into PVC blunder

Our Correspondent in New Delhi The Indian Army has begun a high-level inquiry into the "unpardonable mistake" of declaring one of the aram !ir "hakra winners# $renadier %ogendra &ingh %adav# dead# though he was convalescing in an army hospital in New Delhi' &enior army officers said it was probably at the &rinagar headquarters of the () "orps or Northern "ommand headquarters in *dhampur that the goof up happened' &ources said there were two %ogendra &ingh %adavs in a team of ++ men# under the command of ,ieutenant -alwan &ingh# who climbed to the top of Tiger .ill using ropes and mountaineering equipment' This group of ++# who were the first to reach the hill top and clear it of akistani intruders# have besides the !" won a /ahavir "hakra too' The "unpardonable crime of declaring a !" dead"# said army sources# will be "inquired into and action will be taken against those responsible'" The fau0 pas came to light when the wife of !" %adav protested to the -ase .ospital authorities about her husband being declared dead# and a scrutiny of the details of %adav revealed that he was alive' The army chief rushed to the -ase .ospital on &unday afternoon with gifts and apologies# while on /onday the defence ministry accepted the mistake' "hief of Army &taff $eneral ! /alik has ordered an inquiry and has warned of severe punishment for those responsible# sources said' 1hat has surprised the army top brass and military observers is how the "grave mistake" crept into "one of the toughest selection procedures for any award anywhere in the world'" The Indian military awards have always kept away from controversies due to their impartial methodology# said -rigadier &atbir &ingh# who is on deputation as a senior fellow with the Institute for Defence &tudies and Analyses' .e said a recommendation from the commanding officer of a battalion is "dissected and discussed" at various levels before being finally approved' 2ecommendation for any gallantry award for a soldier is initiated by the commanding officer of a battalion to the brigade headquarters' 3rom the brigade headquarters it is passed on after scrutiny to the divisional headquarters and from there to the corps

headquarters' 3rom the corps# after detailed discussion and correlation of the claims# it is the send to the command headquarters# where from it is forwarded to the army headquarters in New Delhi' At the army headquarters it is finally scrutinised by the .onours and Awards committee headed by the army chief# which has principal staff officers such as military secretary and ad4utant general as its members' The decision of this committee is forwarded to the ministry of defence for its final approval' "The aram !ir "hakra is awarded for rarest of the rare gallantry which is beyond the call of duty and which in normal life is considered impossible to do#" pointed out -rig &ingh' .e said a gallantry award is given for a particular act# and a soldier could win more than one gallantry award in a war for his different actions' 1hile the aram !ir "hakra# /aha !ir "hakra# !ir "hakra# &ena /edal and /ention in Despatches are awarded to soldiers who go out to the field and fight the battle# for leadership qualities senior officers are selected for &arvottam %udh &eva /edal# *ttam %udh &eva /edal and %udh &eva /edal' &arvottam %udh &eva /edal was awarded this time to the chief of 1estern "ommand of the Air 3orce# Air /arshal !inod atney# who is the second officer in Independent India5s history to be awarded this honour' A senior army officer said the goof up of declaring aram !ir "hakra "posthmously" to $renadier %ogendra &ingh %adav would be taken into consideration "to see if there is any need for improving our system of scrutiny'" The brave band of ++ men# which also included three instructors who taught them to climb the dangerously steep right hand side of Tiger .ill# have also won a /ahavir !ir "hakra' ,t -alwan &ingh# who passed out of the Indian /ilitary Academy last /arch# won a /!"' .e was recommended for a !" from the brigade .6# but was finally awarded a /!"' &ources said the goof up came from the fact that there were two %ogendra &ingh %adavs among the ++ men' 1hile one %adav died# the other# fired by his comrade5s death took the battle into the enemy5s camp despite grievous in4uries that included four bullet wounds# a broken left arm and an disabled right leg' The %adav duo were among the first to reach the hilltop and engage the enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat'