Former Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh said it was a standard procedure, since independence, for Army intelligence units to discreetly fund politicians including ministers for works to stabilise the restive situation in insurgency-ridden areas.
Talking to Hindustan Times, he denied that he was leaking any statecraft by talking about funding politicians or ministers. “When a report is leaked by vested interest in bureaucracy saying that I was trying to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government, then what do I say. There is no point in naming politicians as most of them would not even know who was behind a particular function or work. National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah’s statement asking for a CBI inquiry into payments to ministers is only political gimmickry. Let’s not be naïve about this,” Gen Singh said.
He went on to add, “When an intelligence unit organises a function where a minister or a politician is present, the amount spent on the function is listed against the name of the politician or else the expenditure will not be cleared. Neither the politician or minister knows about this nor does the Army chief.”
The former Army chief said that the Technical Support Division (TSD) was not directly reporting to him but was working under a deputy director of General Military Intelligence and the Director General Military Intelligence (DGMI). “The Army chief is only in touch with DGMI for tasks and broad policy directions. There is only one instance of an intelligence officer working as officer on special duty to Army chief. Col Sri Kumar was on the staff of the then Army chief General JJ Singh and also served under General Deepak Kapoor… Just as the defence minister does not get involved in day-to-day functioning of Army, the chief or at least I did not do any micro-management,” he added. He said the main reason for leakage of this report, allegedly against him, was to force the government to order an inquiry and decimate assets created by TSD in J&K.
“I think the allegation that I was trying to topple the J & K government is maliciously motivated. Not only the officers of TSD are being harassed but the way things are going, I suspect that assets and sources of this unit will be exposed and may be bumped off by anti-India forces,” Gen Singh said.
The former chief singled out the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah for targeting him as he had totally opposed the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the valley. “Omar wanted me to lift AFSPA. But I was totally opposed as it would lower the efficacy of the Army in the strife torn state,” he added.