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Gen VK Singh to seek legal help over charges of 'toppling' J&K govt

CNN-IBN
Sep 20, 2013 at 03:02pm IST

New Delhi: Former Army chief General VK Singh, who is in the middle of another controversy, has said that he is going through legal options following the allegations against him. The government has also said it is going through the report against General VK Singh and will initiate probe if any discrepancy is found.

The Defence Ministry said it will take action after examining the report. "The government has received a report from the Army HQ on certain issues relating to one of its 'outfits' as reported by a section of the media today. The report impinges on matters of national security and, as such, the government will take a decision and further actions after a careful examination of the report. The government has in place measures to prevent any such undesirable activities," the Defence Ministry said. "It is further clarified that MoD has not taken any decision for a CBI inquiry into the issues raised in the Army's report," the MoD added.

ALSO SEE Gen VK Singh may be probed for trying to 'topple' J&K govt

The government has hit out at General VK Singh alleging that he misused his official position to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government. Sources in the government have called it a serious misuse of position by General VK Singh and added that a probe will be ordered.

National daily 'The Indian Express' has claimed that General VK Singh set up a special unit in the Army which tried to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government. The Indian Express report claims that a secret Board of Officers inquiry has recommended that the CBI looks into the matter. The report also claims that the unit set up by General VK Singh called the Technical Services Division (TSD), a part of Military Intelligence, tried to block General Bikram Singh's promotion as the Chief of Army Staff.

ALSO SEE Former Army chief Gen VK Singh under scrutiny for 'trying to topple J&K govt'

The Indian Express reports that the recommendation has been examined by the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Defence. News agency PTI has quoted General Singh as saying that the inquiry is vendetta because people are not comfortable with him sharing the dais with Narendra Modi.

The Congress also alleged that General VK Singh has political backing. Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "The government will decide if an inquiry will be conducted or not. We want to know if General VK Singh was doing this on his own or he had the backing of some political party."

Meanwhile, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi has questioned the timing of the report. "The timing of the news in IE concerning Gen VK Singh is intriguing! It is:Puncture the messenger,somehow!(Am not on merits of the case)," Bedi tweeted. "When VK Singh was at th helm,speaking up for integrity,he was a hero! Now that he has spoken as an insider,efforts will b to shoot him down," she added.

The BJP has termed it a witch hunt by the government. "The whole report itself is unfortunate, we definitely suspect some sort of foul play by this UPA government since the days VK Singh has been raising issues of mischiefs of the government. He has been facing a witch hunt by the UPA government," Captain Abhimanyu said.

The report was prepared by Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia as part of a Board of Officers (BOO) formed by General Bikram Singh to review the functioning of the top secret unit set up under his predecessor.

Reacting to the reports, General VK Singh said, "This is simple vendetta as some people are not comfortable with me sharing the dais with Narendra Modi to espouse the cause of ex-servicemen in the country." He said if anyone has recommended a probe into the functioning of the unit, then that person is "talking through his hat" as its operations were meant to be secret.

It is learnt that the report submitted by the Bhatia-led committee has stated that TSD was allegedly involved in "unauthorised operations" which may have taken place even across the border without the proper clearance from the higher-ups in the Government.

The report also mentions Jammu and Kashmir minister Ghulam Hassan's name, saying he was paid Rs 1 crore to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government. When CNN-IBN contacted him he rubbished the allegations and disconnected the phone.

The operations carried out by the unit in Jammu and Kashmir have also been questioned by the Bhatia committee and it is learnt that the unit has been accused of using funds against top serving officers. The unit has also been accused of being involved in financial wrongdoings to the tune of Rs 8 crore.

The funds for the unit had been stopped at the time when present CAG Shashikant Sharma as Defence Secretary had refused to provide finances to it due to lack of clarity on the way they were being spent by the formation. At the time of reviewing the operations of the TSD, it is learnt that the Bhatia Committee was also looking into the alleged misuse of Military Intelligence funds to file court cases during Gen VK Singh's tenure against senior officers.

The TSD was formed during the tenure of Gen VK Singh and its existence came to light in March last year when it was alleged that the unit had tapped the phones of Defence Ministry officials at the height of the controversy over the then Army Chief's date of birth. The process to disband the TSD was initiated recently after the new Army Chief took over and its officers and men have been posted out from there.

The TSD was reporting directly to the then Army Chief Gen VK Singh and it was alleged that the unit may have snooped into the conversations of people even outside the Defence Ministry using its off-the-air interceptor equipment.

(With additional information from PTI)

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