Cutting across ideological lines,political parties Friday termed as serious the findings of an Army inquiry that a secret intelligence unit set up by former Army chief V K Singh in 2010 had misused secret service funds even to bribe a Jammu and Kashmir minister to engineer a change of state government and demanded appropriate action from the government.
Samajwadi Party,in fact,targeted Singh and demanded that people who have served in high and important positions,like that of the Army chief,should be barred from entering politics after retirement. Singh was on the dais alongside BJPs prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the latters public rally in Rewari last Sunday.
The ruling Congress and Left,on the other hand,demanded action from the government.
The Indian Express on Friday reported that a secret Board of Officers Inquiry report into the functioning of the Technical Services Division set up by the former Army chief in May 2010 has found that secret service funds were used to bribe a J&K minister to engineer a change of state government,pay off an NGO to try change the line of succession in the Army top brass and buy off-air interception equipment and to conduct unauthorised covert operations.
These are very serious allegations and I am sure the government of India will take appropriate action, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said.
On whether a CBI probe was needed,he left it to the government.
At the official Congress briefing,party spokesperson P C Chacko termed the findings serious and said the report was under the active consideration of the Defence Ministry and the government. He,however,appeared cautious on whether a CBI probe should be ordered. There are certain matters which in the national interest have to be kept closely guarded secrets. Such things we cannot leave for any kind of inquiry. But the government has to take a decision very cautiously that what kind of inquiry should be there, he said.
Calling it a very serious allegation,SP leader Naresh Agarwal said if this has happened,it is a warning to the country and added that controversial people should not be made the Army chief adding that people who have served on crucial and important positions in the government should be permanently barred from entering politics.
Senior CPI leader D Raja said the Defence Ministry must act upon the report. If at all this report is true,I am told it is based on an Army report,and the evidence is credible that funds were misused to topple an elected government in a state like the J&K,then it is a serious thing. The Defence Ministry and the government will have to act upon that, Raja said.
The issue triggered a verbal duel between Congress and BJP,which accused the government of hounding of retired Army chief because he shared the dais with Modi at the Rewari rally. While Digvijaya Singh said the issue should not be seen through a political prism,Raja questioned the BJP argument that V K Singh was being targeted for sharing the dais with BJP. It can also be that he went to BJP knowing that such allegations may surface against him.
Chacko too rejected the BJPs charge of a political motive behind the Army panel report and added that we believe that the Army should not be used by anybody for any political campaign or political purpose.
It is unfortunate that some of the Opposition leaders are dragging the Army into such controversies, Chacko said.