LT-Gen A K Choudhary, who was Director General of Military Operations in January 2012, has confirmed that there was alarm at the highest levels of the UPA government in mid-January 2012 over the movement of two Army units near New Delhi. So much so that then defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma summoned him shortly before midnight and told him that he “had just come back from the highest seat of power and that they are worried”.
Choudhary says he was told to immediately send the troops back and file a report to the government which he did the very next day.
This confirmation comes after almost two years of denial by both the government and the Army of any such incident, which was first investigated and reported by The Indian Express on April 4, 2012.
That report in The Indian Express was called “absolute rubbish” by Defence Minister A K Antony; the then chief, General V K Singh, speaking to The Hindu on April 7, 2012, called it “fables of a sick mind” and claimed that “no clarification was sought by the government”.
Speaking to The Indian Express in Patna Thursday, three weeks after his retirement as Bengal Area Commander, Choudhary said that the confusion was created due to increasing distrust “between two individuals” and “immaturity” on both sides. And that the entire situation could have been avoided if there was proper communication. “I did feel bad because I am in touch with the defence ministry on an hourly basis and, still, they didn’t raise this with me earlier,” he said.
Choudhary admitted that the troop movements “could have been avoided” if it was known that V K Singh was approaching the Supreme Court on the matter of his date of birth against the government on the same day — January 16, 2012.
Choudhary has confirmed (read his interview), that he was called in by then defence secretary to explain the movement of a mechanised infantry unit from Hisar and a paratroopers detachment from Agra late at night on the same day.
Choudhary has revealed that a day before his meeting with the defence secretary, he (Choudhary) had come to know about the movement of the Hisar unit near Delhi after a senior officer in charge of formations near the capital called him, alerting about concerns of intelligence agencies.
Choudhary said he had ordered this unit to halt and turn back a day before the defence secretary called him.
Describing his meeting with Sharma on January 16, the top officer said: “At around 11 pm, I got a call to come to office. The continued…