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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Snoop unit ex-chief tries to spook journos for exposé

Rahul Singh , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 18, 2013
First Published: 00:50 IST(18/10/2013) | Last Updated: 07:54 IST(18/10/2013)

A senior army officer, who headed a controversial snoop unit created by former army chief General VK Singh, on Thursday threatened a section of the media, including Hindustan Times, for exposing the unauthorised activities of the technical support division (TSD) he had commanded.

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The TSD, set up in May 2010, was disbanded earlier this year after a high-level army probe exposed its activities. But its former chief, Hunny Bakshi, continues to serve as a colonel. He is currently posted in Bengaluru.

In a telephonic conversation with HT, Bakshi attacked the media for what he claimed was the destruction of a “vital national asset”.

He threatened, “I may be down and out, but I am not dead. I will be back and I have identified my targets in the media including you (this writer) and Manu Pubby from The Indian Express. Go ahead and print this.”

Both newspapers have reported extensively on the working of the TSD.

The spy unit, controlled directly by VK Singh, has been accused of misusing secret funds to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir, diverting money to compromise General Bikram Singh’s chances of taking over as the army chief and listening to mobile phone conversations of politicians and bureaucrats at a time when the former chief’s age row was at its peak.

On being informed that HT was running a story on the colonel’s comments, his wife responded with this SMS, “You know the colonel is stressed and under treatment.”

In a letter to defence minister AK Antony, Bakshi’s wife had said the officer had expressed “death wish and suicidal thoughts due to organisational stress” on multiple occasions. She also asked Antony to direct the appropriate authorities “to help us on early retirement and honourable release from the army.”

Despite demands for a full-fledged probe, the ministry is treading with extreme caution as the army’s findings against the TSD are “quite explosive,” a top government source said.

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