Breaking his silence on former army chief general VK Singh's claim that money was paid to ministers in Jammu and Kashmir by the army, state chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday demanded a "threadbare probe" into the matter by the Centre.
He said he would take up the issue with the central government for "suitable action" as General Singh's accusations have caused damage to the image of political parties, particularly those in Jammu and Kashmir and "made things difficult for us".
Singh, at present under fire over an army inquiry for alleged illegal spending during his tenure, has been accused of plotting to overthrow the Omar-led government.
An army intelligence unit set up by Singh is accused of allegedly paying Rs. 1.19 crore to the state agriculture minister Ghulam Hassan Mir to topple the government. While denying these charges, General Singh told a news channel that the army paying money to jammu and Kashmir ministers was nothing new.
"Kashmir is a different issue altogether...a lot of things are done where you have to do civic and youth work. For this, money is needed. A certain amount of money is given for these works. Where is the problem?" he had said.
Mir has "vehemently" denied that he was paid any money. In a statement on Wednesday, he said he was ready for a probe.
The chief minister, meanwhile, said accusations against Singh "cannot be dismissed out of hand" and need to be further investigated.
He called Singh's statement an "effort to vilify and villainise all mainstream political parties, particularly those in Kashmir".
He said most of the political parties had no financial dealings with the army. "(With) only one statement of his, the General has done nothing but create untold problems for mainstream political parties, particularly those operating in Kashmir Valley," he said.