Former Army chief General Sunith Francis Rodrigues on Tuesday dismissed allegations made by Lt General (retired) P N Hoon in his book that the Army was involved in a plot to overthrow the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1987.
Contradicting Lt Gen Hoon’s claims over Army HQ seeking three para-commando battalions, General Rodrigues said the three units were deployed for Indian Peace Keeping Force training in Sri Lanka as sanctioned by the Director General of Military Operations on record.
“They were not even close to New Delhi; as part of a military exercise they were deployed to Sri Lanka. They were not even the relieving or the assistance force, but were sent to hone their tactical skills and gain expertise in guerilla warfare. And to presume that such group roamed around Delhi unnoticed by existing defence parametres of the Army contingents, as though they were wearing some invisible cloaks, it’s ridiculous,” said the former Army chief.
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General Rodrigues said he was not bothered by an author who wanted to sell some extra books by raking up a controversy. He insisted that he was speaking out to uphold the facts.
In his book The Untold Truth, Lt Gen Hoon had claimed that Rodrigues, while being GOC-in-Command of the Western Command along with late General Krishnaswami Sundarji and Congress leader Zail Singh had plotted to topple the Rajiv Gandhi government in a military-style coup.
About the alleged possibility of the military coup, the 82-year old said: “The question of a military coup does not arise. The Army is conditioned to be committed to the democratic framework. There is no other way.”
“Let’s speak facts now, I was appointed during the tenure of the Congress government as GOC-Central and Western Command, Director General of Military training, Vice Chief of Staff and Chief of Army Staff. I served two terms on the board of National Security Advisor, one being under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapayee. If my intentions were to topple democracy, would I have been appointed?,” he added.
Calling Hoon’s book as fiction, Rodrigues added: “He has timed his ‘fiction’ at a juncture where no one except me, can give a befitting reply, in any case my life and career are testament to my commitment to protect India’s democratic identity. Need no ratification from Hoon.”