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Secret history?

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The explosive banner headline “Unit set up by V K Singh used secret funds to try and topple J&K govt, block Bikram Singh: Army inquiry” in the IE today is backed by this story:

Misusing secret service funds to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir, to pay off an NGO to try change the line of succession in the Army top brass, to buy off-air interception equipment, to conduct “unauthorised” covert operations — a string of alleged irregularities by the Technical Services Division (TSD), a controversial Military Intelligence (MI) unit set up by former Army Chief General V K Singh in May 2010, should come under the scanner of an external agency like the CBI.

There is also a disclaimer of sorts in the article:

Officials in the MoD and PMO familiar with the Bhatia inquiry report told The Indian Express that with such details, the Army could well have initiated action against serving and retired officials but it has instead submitted the original records to the Ministry, leaving the final decision to them.

Indeed, when contacted, the Army spokesman said: “The case (the Bhatia report) has been closed from our side.”

Said a top PMO official: “The problem confronting us while dealing with the TSD report has been two-fold. One, those running the TSD appear to have covered their tracks well and destroyed crucial evidence; two, the statements contained in the inquiry report have no legal sanction. In fact, if they are faced with a court martial or CBI inquiry, these officials can turn around and deny everything they have admitted before General Bhatia.”

Given that General V. K. Singh is gadfly at large, this news needs to be verified over the coming days. However, the newspaper also carries a box with the meta-story:

To confirm the email’s receipt and to again try and reach Singh, The Indian Express contacted Kunal Verma, a photojournalist commissioned by Singh — when he was Army Chief — to write a set of three pictorial books on the North-East.

On September 19, Verma called this reporter early in the morning with an offer to fix a meeting with Singh. A few hours later, he said Singh had told him to convey that “he does not wish to speak to The Indian Express and should the newspaper write anything about me they will get it in the neck”.

Since this is the first time that there are detailed allegations of some people in the Indian armed services trying to subvert a democratically elected government, this story is worth reading in full.

DNA reports that the General defends himself saying this is a political move, and that two politicians defend him:

Reacting to the reports, Gen 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.”

Senior BJP leader Balbir Punj and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi have questioned the timing of the recommendation of probe against Gen Singh.

“When VK Singh was at the helm, speaking up for integrity, he was a hero! Now that he has spoken as an insider, efforts will be to shoot him down,” Bedi tweeted this morning.

Speaking to a news channel, Punj said, “The timing of this report is questionable. Gen Singh has been a whistleblower against corrupt practices. He is being punished for speaking against the Centre and for his links with Modi.”

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

September 20, 2013 at 5:01 am

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