After trashing as “absolutely stupid” the news report that government was jittery on the night of January 16-17 due to unusual troop movement towards Delhi, army chief General VK Singh said it was a routine activity and there was no need to notify the government.
The Indian Express reported on April 4 that a Hisar-based mechanised infantry unit and elements of Agra-based 50 Para Brigade had moved towards Delhi on the day Gen Singh became the first serving chief to move the court on the issue of his date of birth.
“Notify for what? What was happening? We keep doing this so many times,” he told a newspaper when asked if the army had notified the government about the exercises.
The army chief said the government had not sought any clarification regarding the troop movement. “These were routine issues. I don't think one or two units ever bother anyone. It was not as if the whole of the armoured division was marching towards Delhi. This is just a figment of imagination,” Gen Singh asked.
The army chief also rejected any link between his moving the Supreme Court and the troop movement. “How is there any connection? You have gone to the Supreme Court. What is there to scare the government for? These are fables of a sick mind,” he said.
The Express report didn’t use the ‘coup’ word but said the government was “spooked” that night. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the report “alarmist”, defence minister AK Antony rejected it as “absolutely baseless”.