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Army payoff row: Govt to probe VK Singh’s claims
Says Army has no business paying politicians
Tribune News Service
on-board the pm’s special flight

COng launches All-out attack

The Congress on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on General VK Singh (retd), accusing him of jeopardising national security interests with his recent statements on J&K
Party spokesperson Raj Babbar said at a briefing: “A retired General is damaging the Army’s glorious tradition of sacrifice, courage and honour. His statements are creating a strange environment in the country.”

A majority of mainstream politicians have no financial dealing with the Army. Therefore, this accusation of his (General Singh) that all ministers since 1947 have taken money from the Army...I think it is important that the Union Government conducts a threadbare inquiry and the findings, whatever they may be, should be shared with us
— Omar Abdullah, J-K Chief Minister

September 25
A deeply concerned UPA government is planning to launch probes into the veracity of allegations levelled by former Army Chief VK Singh that the Indian Army had secretly funded certain ministers in Jammu and Kashmir to serve its unspecified ends.

An official source stated that the former Army Chief “had done enormous damage to India” by such allegations adding, “The Army has no business paying politicians. If anyone did anything wrong, and most of it sounds wrong, we have to first check if it was done, as we can’t take his word for it. We will then act on it.”

As worrying for the government is how the Indian Army brass was able to carry out such illegal activities without being detected by the Defence Ministry. The official source stated that the Defence Ministry had “the means and systems to deal with it”, but after General VK Singh’s statements there would be a thorough review to “see if we need to tighten them”.

The statements come after Union Home Minister SushilKumar Shinde on Tuesday demanded that “VK Singh should name the politicians (of those who were allegedly paid by the Army). If the details are given, we can investigate.”

In Jammu and Kashmir, the ruling National Conference (NC) and its ally the Congress had also dared the Army Chief to reveal the names of politicians who were paid, stating that action would be taken against all of them if found true. NC’s provincial president (Jammu region) Devender Singh Rana had said, “The NC has demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the SC so that the truth comes to the fore.”

With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scheduled to meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 29, officials anticipate that the Pakistan delegation may raise the issue of General VK Singh’s allegations. Though General VK Singh subsequently made efforts to water-down his allegations stating that money was paid to NGOs doing social work that may have had politicians as members, the Indian Government is finding itself in an uncomfortable corner on the issue.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday broke his silence on the matter and demanded a "threadbare" probe by the Centre into the former Army Chief’s claim.

Stating he would formally take up the matter with the Centre, he said the accusations had created "untold problems” for mainstream political parties in the state and asked New Delhi to come out with the truth.





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