In an unprecedented move, the army on Monday accused a retired three-star general — formerly heading the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) — of planting stories in the media about the alleged snooping of telephonic conversations of top government officials by the force.
Reacting to reports in a section of the media alleging that the army may have misused off-the-air interceptors to eavesdrop on phone conversations in New Delhi, the army headquarters held Lt Gen. Tejinder Singh (retd) and some other serving/retired disgruntled officers responsible for creating mistrust between the defence ministry and the organisation. The army has also raised questions about Singh's integrity.
The reports alleged that at least two sets of off-the-air mobile phone interception equipment were deployed in the Capital to eavesdrop on conversations between senior government officials at a time when the controversy over army chief General VK Singh's age row had peaked.
A statement issued by the army headquarters on Monday said, “The officer (Lt Gen. Tejinder Singh) along with some disgruntled serving officers of the military intelligence, against whom disciplinary and administrative actions is in the pipeline, has worked out this fictitious story. The army strongly denies this and takes strong exception to such salacious stories coming out as news.”
The army said Singh had earlier been questioned over the purchase of off-the-air monitoring system without sanction by the technically empowered committee. It also said the officer was an allottee in the Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai and had offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited, which supplies vehicles to BEML.
Denying he planted planting stories in the media, Singh said, "The equipment procured...was after obtaining sanction from the highest authority. As for the kickbacks charge, why did the army not have me arrested if I offered to bribe them?"
The army said it does not carry out "off-the-air monitoring" but seeks the assistance of the IB if there's a need. "The monitoring equipment is in the possession of the Signal Intelligence and is deployed along the borders and in counter-insurgency areas. This equipment is under the control of the director feneral, DIA, and not under the Military Intelligence," a senior official said.