A clandestine military intelligence unit — set up by former army chief Gen VK Singh and accused of tapping the phones of top political leaders — is to be shut down.
The so-called ‘technical support division’ was controlled directly by VK Singh, who had taken on the government over a dispute on his age — a battle he eventually lost in Supreme Court.
The unit had faced allegations of listening in on mobile phone conversations of politicians and bureaucrats at a time when the age row was at its peak earlier this year.
Sources said army chief Gen Bikram Singh has issued directions to constitute a board of officers to probe the unit’s mandate, tasks executed by it and its financial records. A three-star general will head the clean-up act.
“The army wants to fix responsibility before disbanding the unit. It’s surprising why a unit with no strategic relevance was reporting directly to the army chief,” a senior officer said.
This is the first instance of a chief setting up such a unit —which had a budget of about Rs. 18 crore.
VK Singh, who retired on May 31, had claimed he was born in 1951, contrary to official records that showed he was a year older.
Post-retirement, he has continued to speak out against the government, even sharing the stage with Anna Hazare.
It was alleged the snoop unit had illegally deployed two sets of mobile phone interception equipment.
The army had in March accused Lt Gen Tejinder Singh — who formerly headed the Defence Intelligence Agency — of planting stories about the alleged snooping by the force.
VK Singh had also accused Tejinder Singh of offering him a bribe of Rs. 14 crore to clear the purchase of substandard Tatra trucks. Tejinder Singh subsequently filed a criminal defamation case against VK Singh.