New Delhi: Someone within the government could have tried to play mischief, says Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju on the Army spooks report. He said that exaggerated reports about troop movement in January may have been the handiwork of some mischief makers.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate, he said that the situation may have been used by people to create confusion in the already trying times. Raju also said that there was nothing controversial about the troop movement on January 16.
On the government's response to the situation, he said, "I would not put it that the government has reacted. It's probably somebody down the line who might have read too much into it."
"It was not that people would try to create little bit of confusion in the current scenario and I don't think we must react too much to these things. We know what our national interests are and what has to be done to protect our national interests and I think they are acting in accordance," he said. He said that mischief makers tried to create concern by exaggerating something that was quite ordinary and straight forward.
Earlier, Indian Army Chief General VK Singh blamed "rogue elements" in the bureaucracy for stoking controversies and denied any rift between him and Defence Minister AK Antony. "There is nothing wrong. I am on the same page as the government. We enjoy good relations, and I have no differences with the (minister)," Gen Singh said.
The Army Chief accused "rogue elements of the bureaucracy" of wanting to "blow things up". The chief said the January 16-17 movement of two units was routine and the army didn't need to notify the government about it. "Notify for what? What was happening? We keep doing this so many times," he said.
He said the Wednesday Indian Express article on the troop movement was "absurd and deplorable". Asked who could be behind it, the General said he didn't want to "waste time thinking about it" but pointed fingers at a section of the bureaucracy.
"There are so many theories doing the rounds. There was a newspaper story which said it was being done at the behest of a central minister. Sections of the bureaucracy can be feeding wrong inputs. They have made a mountain out of a molehill… God knows who all may be involved, nor do I want to waste time thinking about it," he said.
He also rejected any link between the timing of the troop exercises and his petition over his date of birth in the Supreme Court, outright denying that the army movement was to scare the government. "You have gone to the Supreme Court. What is there to scare the government for? These are fables of a sick mind. Anyone who makes a connection needs to see a psychiatrist. I had followed the laid down norms of a democratic constitution and gone to the Supreme Court. Where is the doubt left?"
Asked about a March 13 interview to a weekly in which the General had hinted that a controversy could be created out of a routine army exercise, the army chief said: "It is like this. When there is general suspicion, you can do anything. Funny ideas can be planted. I had mentioned it last month itself that, you know, tomorrow there will be exercises - and a big story will be made out of it."