Ex-chief claims sets off controversy

Ex-chief claims sets off controversy

Former Army chief V K Singh’s claim that money was paid to ministers in Jammu and Kashmir from secret funds has set off another political controversy. The government on Tuesday offered to probe the matter if he provides details while UPA constituent National Conference dared him to name the beneficiaries.

On his part, Singh sought to do damage control by saying that the Army did not bribe anyone and the payments were not for the personal use of the ministers but for promoting goodwill among the people.

As the Congress and its allies pounded on the controversial general, opposition BJP defended him saying the government was weakening the institution by targeting Singh.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government was ready to probe if the beneficiaries were identified. “V K Singh should name politicians. He should reveal the names (of those to whom money was allegedly paid). If details are given, we can investigate,” Shinde said.

Farooq Abdullah, a Union Minister and chief of National Conference, which is ruling the state, demanded a CBI inquiry into the claims. “I think it’s a very, very terrible statement that he has made. It must be investigated. The Army has nothing to do with funding of political parties. They should never do this. The Army should be kept
apolitical and if he has done that, he has done something extremely wrong,” he said.

Maintaining that it had never compromised the integrity of office, the National Conference said in a statement that Singh’s generalised remarks were “absurd and far from truth”. 

Singh, who is at loggerheads with UPA,  had said that Army had paid ministers and NGOs in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that the situation was under control in the troubled state. Defending Singh,  Arun Jaitley alleged that the government leaked a report on an Army unit dealing with covert operations and targeted Singh.

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