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Payoff row: J&K assembly to summon VK Singh

india Updated: Oct 09, 2013 21:37 IST

Amidst uproarious scenes, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Wednesday resolved to convene a special session and summon former army chief general VK Singh to explain his controversial statement about pay-offs to politicians in the state.

Speaker Mubarak Gul, however, refused to set a timeframe for summoning the retired general, who had kicked off a storm by claiming that since Independence the Army has been giving funds to many ministers in the state to get certain jobs done.

“I will summon him (Singh) very soon,” Gul said amidst uproar in the assembly, which saw opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) legislators storming the well of the House and demanding a timeframe for general (retd) Singh’s appearance.

Gul gave the assurance after PDP and members of the ruling National Conference demanded that Singh be summoned to the House.

The pandemonium started after a NC minister demanded that Singh be summoned as his allegations have dented the image of the assembly.
BJP and National Panthers Party (NPP) members also rushed to the well of the House urging the Speaker not to change his earlier ruling in which he had said that he will write a letter to the former Army chief seeking an explanation from him on his controversial remarks.

The House was adjourned many times following the uproar.

On Monday, the Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution demanding a probe into the claims made by Singh. The one-line resolution was supported even by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which had defended general (retd) Singh during a debate in the assembly.

A report in a national English daily last month claimed that a secret army intelligence unit, set up during Singh’s tenure as the chief of Army staff, paid money to a Jammu and Kashmir minister to topple the Omar Abdullah-led government in 2010.

General (retd) Singh later denied the allegations and clarified that funds had been given to many ministers in the state right since Independence to get certain jobs done.

The ruling National Conference had demanded a CBI inquiry into the allegations. The ministers of the ruling party have also moved a privilege motion against the former Army chief, which is pending before the Speaker for a ruling.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah told the Assembly on Monday that Singh’s comments had severely dented the image of mainstream political parties.

“Elections are nearing and if the Centre wants us to go to people with this bolt on our credibility, we might give whatever explanations. But how much will people buy needs to be seen,” he had said.

Abdullah has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “The charges, being of serious nature, need to be probed in order to arrive at truth which can be shared with the general public...This has caused enormous damage to the institutions of democracy in the state and allowed forces inimical to the democratic processes here to paint all mainstream politicians as paid operatives of the Army,” the letter read.