Vice Admiral Bimal Verma on Tuesday withdrew his petition challenging the appointment of Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next chief of naval staff after a military tribunal told him to first explore “internal remedies”, official sources said. Verma, commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on Monday, asking why he was overlooked as the next Navy chief despite being the senior-most in the line of command. Sources said Verma withdrew his petition after being told by the AFT that he should first explore “internal remedies” to his grievances.
It said he could again approach the tribunal if he was not satisfied with the remedies. In his petition to the AFT here on Monday, Verma sought to know why the government ignored his seniority and appointed Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as the next Navy chief. His petition is likely to be taken up Tuesday. The government last month named Singh as the next chief of naval staff, succeeding 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.