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General VK Singh to file RTI seeking copy of Army report on TSD

Updated: September 22, 2013, 3:59 PM IST
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General VK Singh to file RTI seeking copy of Army report on TSD
General VK Singh had on Saturday trashed the reports about his alleged involvement in the misuse of the intelligence unit, calling it motivated.

New Delhi: Former Army Chief General VK Singh will on Monday file an RTI application to seek a copy of the Army report about the Technical Support Division (TSD).

The move by the former Army Chief comes two days after a National daily 'The Indian Express' claimed that General VK Singh had set up a special unit in the Army which tried to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government.

General Singh had on Saturday trashed the reports about his alleged involvement in the misuse of the intelligence unit, calling it motivated. "The report has not said anything new. It is laughable, a hogwash and motivated. Don't know on whose behest is being done," General Singh had said.

"The allegation of trying to topple the government of Jammu and Kashmir is laughable. The CM of Jammu and Kashmir knows about the type of stability work that has been done. All that the Army has done is to stabilise the state," he had added.

There were also allegations that General VK Singh tried to block General Bikram Singh's promotion. "There is a case against Bikram Singh in the Jammu and Kashmir HC. If we wanted to do something, we would have changed the stance of the Army in the case," General VK Singh had said.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry on Saturday admitted to getting the Army report but did not confirm the contents of the report. General Singh had earlier told CNN-IBN there are beneficiaries in the system who wanted to malign him.

The Defence Ministry had 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 had 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.

The Congress had also alleged that General VK Singh has political backing. Congress leader Rashid Alvi had 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 had 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 the 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 had 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 had 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 on Saturday 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.

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)

First Published: September 22, 2013, 3:59 PM IST
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