Former Army Chief Gen (retd) V K Singhs claim that the Army has paid all ministers in Jammu and Kashmir since Independence set off a major political storm on Tuesday.
While National Conference leader and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah demanded a CBI probe into Singhs claim that certain ministers in J&K are given money by the Army for stability,leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley expressed his disapproval of Singhs public admission. None of us knows or is entitled to know the details of these activities. These are a part of the covert operations.
The desirability and the appropriateness of these activities is a subject matter for the government of the day to decide. Prime Ministers,Home Ministers,Defence Ministers,Chief of the Army Staff,heads of IB and R&AW and several others in the government are privy to information which must necessarily die with them.
It even cannot become a part of their memoirs, Jaitley said in a signed article released to the media on Tuesday. He added that he is unaware of the truth or otherwise of the allegation.
Should such information have been leaked out by the political establishment which had a problem with the former Army Chief? Pushed to a corner,should the Army Chief at all have admitted that such payments were indeed undertaken? The UPA government has abandoned its state-craft, he said.
The Congress termed Singhs claim as irresponsible,and said he should reveal the names of ministers who had received money from the Army. V K Singh should name the politicians… If the details are given,we can investigate, said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
I think its a very,very terrible statement that he has made. It must be investigated. The Army has nothing to do with funding of political parties. They should never do this. The Army should be kept apolitical. And if he has done that,he has done something extremely wrong. said former J&K chief minister and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
I have no knowledge about this and I am as curious as you are to know the names of the persons who were being paid and who are being paid, he added.
Congress spokesperson P C Chacko said such statements by Singh brought disgrace to the Army. V K Singh is again and again creating controversies,thereby he is landing into more and more trouble… Of course the people give a lot of respect to an ex-general,but unfortunately his statements are far below the status of an ex-chief of Army. What he has said,I dont want to say whether it is right or wrong,but it is unbecoming of a person of his stature, he said.
The internal probe by the Army has detected many irregular things and that report is before the government and the Prime Minister. The government will act on that. Since the government is seized of the matter,I dont want to say anything. It has to have a follow-up action. I am sure that follow-up action will be there, he said.
Earlier in the day,Farooq Abdullah told reporters,I think time has come when a CBI inquiry should be held immediately to see what is the funding that the Army has done and who are the people who received these funds and how these funds have been utilised.
Abdullah said that if the Army had really utilised money for political purposes,it was extremely bad for the nation. Demanding an investigation into Singhs claim,Abdullah said,Funding should be investigated. CBI should look into why and how was that fund being spent. Who permitted those funds being spent on political parties needs to be probed. We cannot question them in Parliament. Army funds are not questionable. He also demanded that the Armys secret funds be audited.
Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said such matters of national security should not be discussed in public. Anyone who has served in the Army and that too in such a top post should not be talking like this. There should be restraint, he said.
Speaking to Times Now yesterday,the former Army chief had claimed that the Army has been giving money to J&K ministers to ensure that the people are kept together. He also confirmed that the Armys controversial Technical Support Division (TSD) transferred money to an NGO based in the state.
Union Minister Rajiv Shukla said Singhs remark was not in national interest and that persons who have held such high positions should not make such statements after retirement without any substance. J&K Sports Minister and Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin dared the former Army chief to name the ministers who were given funds.