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J&K Assembly to Centre: Probe V K Singh’s payoff charge

J&K Assembly passed a resolution asking the Centre to conduct a 'time-bound and transparent' probe.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: March 14, 2014 12:16:21 pm

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Monday passed a unanimous resolution asking the Centre to conduct a “time-bound and transparent” probe into the charges levelled by former Army Chief Gen (retd) V K Singh about payoffs to mainstream politicians of the state. The Speaker,however,reserved the decision on a privilege motion against Singh.

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The resolution was passed at the end of a four-hour debate on Singh’s allegation that the Army has been paying mainstream J&K politicians since 1947.

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“This house unanimously resolves that the allegations made by Gen (retd) V K Singh be inquired in a time-bound and transparent manner,” said Speaker Mubarak Gul after the debate. “I am reserving my decision on the privilege motion. I will analyse it and decide after some days”.

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While concluding the discussion,Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Singh’s allegations cannot be ignored. “We have been belittled in the eyes of the people. Fingers are being pointed at us,” he said. “Whether we have taken the money or not,it has given a weapon to our opponents to humiliate us before the people,” he said.

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“The institution of mainstream politics is in danger today. It has never been affected so much… And we are not responsible for it. It is their (central government’s) inquiry (into the functioning of Technical Services Division of Army),it is their General and they have leaked it there. But we are paying the price,” said the Chief Minister.

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He said a “responsible officer of the Army” had informed that the Army had installed four machines — two in Jammu and two in Srinagar — to tap his phones. He said he wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 25,seeking an inquiry into the allegations made by the former Army Chief. Quoting from the letter,Abdullah said,“The charges are of a serious nature and need to be probed to arrive at the truth.”

The Chief Minister said,“This issue shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet,” he said. “Were the phones being tapped? I think we have a right to know. Has money been given to politicians? If yes,to whom?”

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Abdullah said the former Army Chief had brought the entire Panchyati Raj institution under suspicion,and warned that he would be responsible if any of them was killed.

Though Abdullah said that he didn’t ask Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir whether he had received any money from the Army,his uncle,Mustafa Kamal,demanded Mir’s resignation.

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Mir,who was allegedly paid Rs 1.19 crore by the Army to destablise the Omar Abdullah-led coalition government in 2010,dismissed the allegations. “Let me assure you that I have not done anything that will make you hang your heads (in shame),” Mir said. “Ghulam Hassan Mir has always worked to strengthen this institution and he will continue to do so”.

Senior Opposition leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig challenged Singh to name the ministers who were paid by the Army. “If you are a real Army man,name those politicians who have taken money,” he said. “These allegations have damaged the electoral process. They have damaged India”.

Meanwhile,BJP and Panther’s Party members opposed the privilege motion,terming it as an attempt to defame the institution of the Army. “They say that Rs 1.19 crore has been given to a minister to topple the government. You can’t even topple a municipality with this amount,” said Panther’s Party leader Harshdev Singh.

“On September 5,2011,US ambassador David Mulford said that everybody in J&K is being paid. If you want to bring Gen Singh to this house,then first bring Mulford,” he added.

Independent legislator Engineer Rashid congratulated the former Army Chief for “unmasking” many politicians in Kashmir. Rashid said after the allegations,India has “no moral right” to criticise “rogue elements in Pakistan’s ISI”.

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