M A I N   N E W S

NC, Congress dare Gen Singh to name beneficiaries

New Delhi, September 24
Former Army Chief VK Singh’s claim that money was paid to Jammu and Kashmir ministers from secret funds set off a political storm today with the ruling National Conference (NC) and ally Congress daring him to name the beneficiaries amid a demand for a CBI probe.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government was ready to investigate the claim if the beneficiaries were identified. The NC further threatened to initiate legal action against General Singh if he failed to name the ministers.

The Congress dubbed Singh’s remark irresponsible and not in national interest, while the NC said he had done something “extremely wrong” on the issue of funding of political parties.

“VK Singh should name the politicians. He should reveal the names (of those to whom money was allegedly paid). If details are given, we can investigate,” Shinde said.

The BJP said the issue was not about an individual but about the weakening of an institution.

“What the government is doing (targeting General Singh) is wrong, as these are matters of national security,” said party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.

She termed the matter “highly sensitive” and lamented that the attitude of the government would only help India’s enemies. She urged the government to handle the matter with discretion.

In a statement bearing signatures of all present and former NC ministers, the ruling party in Jammu and Kashmir said it would be forced to take legal recourse if the former Army Chief failed to name the ministers.

Calling the remarks “absurd and far from truth”, the NC said the ministers concerned in the Omar Abdullah Cabinet would quit if they were named.

General Singh had yesterday claimed “certain ministers” in Jammu and Kashmir were given money by the Army for “stability” and that it had been going on since Independence.

NC president Farooq Abdullah demanded a CBI probe into the allegations made by General Singh.

General Singh’s remark drew sharp criticism from the Congress with former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad expressing shock and a party spokesperson slamming him for his “irresponsible” statement. “I have no knowledge about this and I am as curious as you are to know the names of the persons who were being paid and who are being paid,” he said. Congress spokesperson PC Chacko said General Singh’s “irresponsible” statements had brought “disgrace” to the Army.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said if he disclosed General Singh’s advice to him years ago on counter-insurgency operations as the then Chief of Eastern Army Command it would be a “big embarrassment” to everyone.

“If I reveal what VK Singh had advised me to do as Eastern Army Commander, it would be embarrassment to everybody,” said Gogoi. — PTI





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