New Delhi: Defence ministry spokesperson SS Rajshekhar has been sent on a forced leave after she tweeted against former Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash, questioning his alleged misuse of manpower and resources by military officers in a discussion over use of flags on vehicles by a civilian officer. “Col. Aman Anand took over as the acting Official Spokesperson of MOD as the Spokespersn proceeds on leave,” the defence ministry tweeted.

The issue had erupted when Admiral Arun Prakash tweeted on Thursday over the misuse of flags and insignia by the defence services officers, saying, “Even if misuse of an Army Command’s insignia by a civilian is not a cognizable offence, the person needs to be reprimanded by the GOCinC whose ‘Financial Adviser’ he is.”

Friday morning, defence ministry spokesperson Swarnashree Rajshekhar attacked Admiral (retired) Prakash using the ministry's official Twitter handle: “What about misuse of jawans in your residence during an officer’s tenure sir? And how about children being picked up and dropped to school in Fauji (military) gaadis (vehicles)? Not to forget Madam’s shopping expedition on government vehicles. And endless parties…who pays for that?”

Even before she could realise her 'inadvertent mistake' and delete her tweet, former officers and veterans took screenshots of both the tweets and started criticising the ministry over the “strained civil-military” relations.

However, despite the attack on him, Admiral Prakash did not react strongly. He said, “Rather than getting excited over indiscreet tweet of @SpokespersonMoD I would suggest sober reflection; (a) by MoD on state of civil-mil relations & (b) by Military Leadership on the aspersions cast by MoD (IDAS?) civil-servant on personal conduct of Service officers.”

The Navy has not yet said anything on the issue, but sources said they were sure that some corrective action would be taken on the issue. Senior defence ministry officers said they would look into the matter and necessary action would be taken.

Rajshekhar is an Indian defence accounts services officer and the first person from her cadre to have been appointed the ministry of defence spokesperson. The post has been held in the past by Indian Information Services' officers such as the present DG PIB Sitanshu Kar.