Army Base Hospital Commandant posted out, sudden move raises eyebrows

In a sudden move, the Commandant of the Base Hospital Delhi cantonment, has been transferred as ‘Additional Officer’ to Army Hospital (Research and Referral), in Delhi itself.

The transfer of Major General Vasu Vardhan has been ordered on May 10 by the Directorate General of Medical Services (Army). The posting orders accessed by The Indian Express state that Major General SK Singh, Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of Army Medical Corps Centre and College, Lucknow has been posted to the Base Hospital in place of Major General Vardhan.

The move has raised eyebrows within the Army circles as Major General Vardhan was supposed to retire within a few months. Under normal conditions officers who are due to retire shortly are not posted out from their appointments.

An Army spokesperson, however, termed the transfer as routine. “The current Commandant has completed a tenure of more than 18 months in his current appointment. It is a routine posting carried out as part of a larger plan of HR management within the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS),” the officer said.

However, senior officers within the Army Medical Corps have confided that this transfer is anything but routine and that there is more to the episode than is being revealed. Incidentally, the base Hospital was on Wednesday visited by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Bipin Rawat who also visited the DRDO Covid facility set up near Palam.

Based Hospital Delhi Cantonment had been in the news a few weeks back when a retired Brigadier suffering from Covid symptoms was turned away due to lack of beds and he died while being taken to a hospital in Mohali, near Chandigarh. There was outrage among the veterans following this and a retired Lt General recently wrote a letter to the CDS complaining about the Base Hospital and bringing to his notice the deaths of a few retired officers alleging that the veterans and their dependents were not being taken care of adequately.

However, there have also been messages circulating on social media highlighting that Major General Vardhan recently lost his mother in another city to Covid but he continued to perform his duties at the Base Hospital. There have been several messages in support for the officer which have been tweeted by retired military officers appreciating his dedication to work.

Former Northern and Central Army Commander, Lt Gen HS Panag (retd), tweeted, “More to it than meets the eye. If you cannot make the upright bend, then you get them out of the way.”