VK Singh calls destabilisation attempt most absurd

Last Updated 21 September 2013, 16:13 IST

Under attack over the purported activities of a secret intelligence unit set up by him, former Army Chief Gen V K Singh today hit back as "motivated" the charges against him as a meeting of top officials discussed the issue.

A day after media carried reports that the Technical Support Division (TSD) set up during his tenure had attempted to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government, Singh dubbed the allegations as "most absurd'.

The former Army Chief said it was "laughable and most absurd" allegation that he was trying to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government saying the Army had done a lot of things to bring stability there.

Attacking the state chief minister Omar Abdullah for "mis-governance", Gen Singh said he was "shooting of his mouth for nothing" on the allegations that the TSD was used to topple the state government.

On the charge that the TSD was misused for unauthorised operations and that it had indulged in financial wrongdoings, he claimed that the Army and the Defence Ministry had found "nothing suspicious" against the unit in their probe and had sent the probe report to the National Security Advisor (NSA) for closure.

"The reports on the whole issue are motivated and there are a number of reasons behind it including my sharing of dais with BJP leader Narendra Modi. There is a nexus between arms dealers and those behind the reports," Gen Singh told PTI here.

The former Army Chief said after the Government decided to close the issue by sending it to the NSA, "a Joint Secretary of the Defence Ministry has leaked this report against me".
Meanwhile, NSA Shivshankar Menon is understood to have held a meeting of the top officials from intelligence agencies along with Defence and Home Secretaries to discuss the issue and its implications.

As the controversy raged, Congress said anyone denigrating the fair name of the Indian Army cannot go Scot-free and will be punished. Party leader from J and K Saifuddin Soz demanded a probe into the matter.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said charges levelled against Gen Singh by an Army inquiry are "bogus" and he is being targeted for being close to party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

In a statement, Gen Singh said the TSD was set up by the Army with full approval of Defence Minister A K Antony and the NSA.

He said the unit was formed after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai on the basis of an operational directive given to the Army by the Defence Minister to perform a particular task to secure the borders and internal situation in the country.

The former Army chief said the TSD was not his "private or rogue Army" as was being alleged by certain organisations and it was budgeted by the DG Military Intelligence .
On the off-the-air-interceptors equipment which was allegedly used by the Army during his tenure to tap phones of Defence Ministry officials, he said it was under the Defence Intelligence Agency and not under the TSD.

He said such equipment can be used to tap conversation between mobile phones and not landline telephones.

On the charges that he was trying to block the elevation of present chief Gen Bikram Singh, he said had it been so, the Army at that time could have changed its stance on the particular case involving Bikram Singh in which a 70-year-old person, said to be a foreign terrorist, was killed.

He said generally, terrorists in J and K are not more than 30-32 years old.

(Published 21 September 2013, 16:13 IST)

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