Almost two years after the Indian Express reported about the movement of two units of the Indian Army towards Delhi in January 2012, the newspaper on Friday claimed a former top army official had confirmed to it that the "highest levels" of the UPA government were alarmed that day.
The Indian Express had reported on April 4, 2012 that on January 16 (the day the then army chief General VK Singh approached the Supreme Court on his date of birth issue), central intelligence agencies reported an unexpected and non-notified movement by a mechanised infantry unit from Hisar and a paratroopers detachment from Agra in the direction of the capital.
The report had created a flutter within the government, opposition and across the nation with most of them dismissing the report and claiming it baseless.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had dubbed the Express report as alarmist and said it should not be taken at face value while defence minister said he did not doubt the patriotism of the armed forces and that the reported movement of two army units was "nothing unusual".
Lieutenant General AK Choudhary, who was the then director general of military operations and recently retired, told the paper that he was called in by then defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma to explain the movement, asked to immediately send the troops back and file a report to the government.
Choudhary, three weeks after his retirement as Bengal Area Commander, told the Express said that the confusion was created due to increasing distrust "between two individuals" and "immaturity" on both sides adding that the entire situation could have been avoided if there was proper communication.
"I think the (defence) ministry and the IB (Intelligence Bureau) got excited and made their impression on the basis of the last five to six months when things had gone to a level where there had been distrust among people - two individuals. There was immaturity on both sides. Immaturity on the part of the commanders I don't know, if he knew about the dates (court) or had he had thought on these lines, he could have stopped it. But I don’t think he thought on those lines,” Choudhary told the Express.
According to Choudhary the army submitted a written report detailing the troop movements on January 17 explaining that they were moving as part of a planned exercise.
He said after the incident, instructions were given that the government had to be informed about all army movements near the national capital in the future.
Former chief of Indian Army VK Singh responds on Twitter:
Saw report by presstitutes of IE, hilarious front page justification of Coupta. Confirms who cooked up routine move to denigrate army.1/2— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) February 21, 2014
IE confirms hand of senior bureaucrat linked to Chandigarh think tank in this episode to tarnish me. All involved in such plots benefitted!!— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) February 21, 2014