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Probe V K Singh’s payoff charges,J&K House tells Centre; Omar writes to PM

It was agreed that a time-bound and transparent investigation should be conducted.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | Published: October 8, 2013 2:59:31 am

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

Unit set up by V K Singh misused secret funds: Army inquiry

The resolution was passed at the end of a four-hour debate on Singh’s allegations that the Army has been paying mainstream politicians in the state since 1947.

Army has paid all ministers in J&K for ‘stabilising’ the state: V K Singh

“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.”

While concluding the discussion,Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Singh’s allegations could not 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.

“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 the Army),it is their general and they have leaked it there. But we are paying the price,” the chief minister said.

Omar said he wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 25,seeking an inquiry into the former Army Chief’s allegations. Quoting from the letter,he said,“The charges are of a serious nature and need to be probed to arrive at the truth.”

On September 20,The Indian Express had reported on the Army inquiry that found alleged irregularities by the TSD — from an attempt to destabilise the J&K government to illegal operations.

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

He said a “responsible officer of the Army” had informed him that the Army had installed four machines — two in Jammu and two in Srinagar — to tap his phones. 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 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.

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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