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Manekshaw, a Pak spy: Gohar Khan

May 07, 2007 08:28 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Were the Indian Army headquarters and the Defence Ministry in the 1950s and 60s riddled with Pakistani spies? That's a clear impression one gets while reading the diaries of Pakistani Field Marshal Mohammed Ayub Khan. Published in Pakistan on Friday, Diaries of Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan: 1966- 1972, have sold out within hours. Speaking to Karan Thapar on CNBC-TV18 show India Tonight, Ayub Khan's son Gohar Ayub Khan - whose own book will be released in July - all but named the man who he claims sold India's war plans to Pakistan. The man is India's most revered general, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. Though Ayub refused to name the Brigadier, he revealed several pointing details. "The Brigadier was from the first batch of the Indian Military Academy, commissioned in the 4th Battalian of the 12 Frontier Force, wounded in the Burma campaign in 1942 for which he was awarded the Military Cross and rose to the highest possible rank in the Indian army," Gohar said. When Thapar told Gohar that his description fitted former chief of Army Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw - currently recuperating in the military hospital in Coonoor - Gohar played safe. "I would not name him, the individual. You possibly can fit the cap from what you have heard (from me)," he said. On the defensive The audacious claim has sent shockwaves across India’s defence fraternity and India has termed it an absurd and malicious lie. The most vocal in their dismissals were former Army Chief Gen Shankar Roychowdhry and Bangladesh war hero Lt Gen J F R Jacob who described the remarks as "scrullous, malicious and nonsense". “This is not a revelation but an allegation and that too a baseless one. Unless this is proved, it should be dismissed by highest order of contempt,” Roychowdhry told CNN-IBN. Jacob said since Manekshaw couldn't be present to defend himself, it was his responsibility to defend the ailing armyman. "Sam Manekshaw is an honourable soldier loyal to the country. I cant understand why gauhar ayub has made these malicious remarks. He should withdraw them immediately," Jacob said. The history The controversy has resurfaced two years after Ayub’s son Gohar claimed that his father had given him the name of an Indian Director of Military Operations from the 1950s who had sold the country’s war plans to the Pakistanis for Rs 20,000. However, at that time the claims were dismissed, though media kept the issue abuzz and zeroed in on six Army officers who had served as DMO during the period. The officers were brigadiers Manekshaw, Daulet Singh, RB Chopra, KS Katoch, DC Mishra and Amrik Singh. But despite media speculation, Gohar refused to name the officer.