Manish Tewari: Indian Express story on troop movement unfortunate but true

Manish Tweari: “In so far that particular story you are referring to, that time I used to serve in the Standing Committee on Defence and it is unfortunate but the story was true. Story was correct."

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2016 3:47 pm
Army troop movement, Army movement Delhi, Delhi army movement, Delhi army movement Indian Express, Army movement Indian Express Former Union Minister Manish Tewari. (Express Archive)

The Indian Express report ‘The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt’ (April 4, 2012) was “unfortunate… but true,” Manish Tewari, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting in the UPA government between October 2012 and May 2014, said Saturday.

Tewari, who was a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence when the report appeared, gave this answer in response to an audience question at a book release function in New Delhi.

express story apr 4 2012-759 Front page of The Indian Express published on April 4, 2012.

The Original storyThe January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt

He was speaking at the event after launching former Principal Information Officer I Ramamohan Rao’s book ‘Conflict Communication — Chronicles of a Communicator’ at the India Habitat Centre.

Video | Indian Express story on troops’ movement ‘true’: Manish Tewari (App users click here)

Asked about media coverage of issues pertaining to defence forces — as in the case of the 2012 The Indian Express report on troop movement — Tewari said, “In so far that particular story you are referring to, that time I used to serve in the Standing Committee on Defence and it is unfortunate but the story was true. Story was correct.”

Gen V K Singh reacts: He has nothing to do these days”

Later, speaking to The Indian Express, Tewari said: “I was a part of the Standing Committee on Defence and I recall that in April of 2012, after the story appeared in The Indian Express, there was a briefing of the committee done with respect to the story. During the briefing, the Defence ministry maintained the stand that the government had officially taken. Privately, the officials involved in the briefing confirmed to me that the story ‘may just be true’.”

Tewari declined to elaborate citing breach of parliamentary privilege.

“After the briefings, a draft report was prepared by the Standing Committee on Defence — chaired by Satpal Maharaj — where adverse references had been made to The Indian Express. After I took up the case, these references were expunged from the draft report. Shiromani Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujral had also supported me in that endeavour. The reason I had strongly objected to those strictures against the newspaper was because of what I had been told by responsible officials that The Indian Express story ‘may just be true’. It would be a tad unfair to expect officials to say anything beyond that, at least in our system,” he said.

In its report, The Indian Express had stated that late on the night of January 16 (the day the then Army Chief, General V K Singh approached the Supreme Court on his date of birth issue), intelligence agencies had reported an unexpected (and non-notified) movement by a key military unit, from the Mechanised Infantry based in Hisar as a part of the 33 Armoured Division in the direction of Delhi. A large element of the airborne 50 Para Brigade based at Agra was also observed moving towards Delhi around that time.

The then Defence Secretary, Shashi Kant Sharma, was asked to cut short his visit to Malaysia and return. He opened his office at 11 pm on January 16 and asked Lt General A K Choudhary, the then Director General Military Operations (DGMO), to see him and explain what was going on.

The DGMO was asked to return with full facts about the movement, and was told to send the units back immediately. Both the military formations were halted, and sent back within hours.

The Defence ministry had then called the report “baseless”. General (retd) V K Singh had denied the report.

Read | Lt-Gen A K Choudhary: ‘Troop movement should’ve been avoided if they knew (V K Singh’s) court date’ 

Incidentally, Lt Gen A K Choudhary later confirmed the troop movement and late-night meeting to The Indian Express. He said he had clarified all the issues to the Defence ministry in an official note on January 17, 2012.

(Click here to read the story in Hindi)

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  1. A
    Jan 9, 2016 at 5:38 pm
    Nobody believes IE or Tiwari
    1. S
      Jan 10, 2016 at 4:43 am
      Preparation for washout of next parliamentary session ! In my opinion, this controversy has been deliberately unleashed for that purpose by the lead opposition party member who himself faked health issues so as to avoid losing in lok-sabha elections ...
    2. C
      Chander Pal
      Jan 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm
      A Pygmy with a banana given by sonia and he thinks he is an intellectual. Can't be taken seriously
      1. J
        Jan 10, 2016 at 1:28 am
        It was a a l l story totally paranoid and overblown
        1. T
          Jan 10, 2016 at 6:45 am
          Shame on this newspaper ve
          1. A
            Ak sriv
            Jan 10, 2016 at 3:39 am
            Loser Manish Tewari.. He should be subjected to Lie Detector Test, and if the movement of Army Column comes out to be true, then action should be taken against the that time cabinet / defence Minister / PM / and this dolt Tewari for sleeping through it and hiding the problem below the carpet... The government that time should be held solely responsible for not taking any action..
          2. O
            Ops Zibraltar
            Jan 10, 2016 at 4:31 am
            indian express is owned by rp goenka group and familly who was the biggest puppet of indira hi and was rewarded with treasurer post of thirumala temple for his services to the hi familly and even today this indian express group continues to support and protect the culprits and hide the truth for benefitinng there congressi masters, be it encouraging an illiterate like aamir khan to propagate lies in indian express conclave or publishing stupid and made out stories , every now and then to tarnish the image of modi government and to bring forward another like rahul hi for the post of prime minister of india. this news paper is only full of lies and nothing to do with clean and honest press or journalism.
            1. V
              Jan 10, 2016 at 5:25 am
              Just confirms that UPA was governed by an impotent leadership who had no moral strength and hence movement of 2 armored division made them pi$$ in their pants. These cowards didnt had guts to accept this fact for 4 years
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