Under intense attack and criticism, former army chief gen VK Singh today made a U-turn on his claim that ministers and MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir are getting payments from the army, saying no such thing happens.
He sought to wriggle out of the controversy by claiming that he had cited purported comments attributed to former US ambassador to India David Mulford when he said "certain ministers" of Jammu and Kashmir were being paid by the Army for stability.
"I have never said that they (ministers and MLAs) are paid money under Sadbhavna (civic action schemes undertaken by the Army). I have just said that certain projects are taken up which help in stabilising. This can be a bridge or a transformer," Singh told PTI in an interview.
The former chief was asked to explain the remarks made by him that the army was paying money to MLAs and ministers in the trouble-torn state to bring stability and this had been going on since Independence.
When pressed on the issue, he again said, "I have never said that in the book. I have not even said that in the interview."
He was referring to his recently-released book 'Courage and Conviction'.
It was pointed out to him that, he said so in an interview some months back. He replied: "I have said that they may have been paid but David Mulford has said that in 2011.
You read the Wikileaks reports in a national business daily. I have repeated what he has said."
Asked whether he wanted to say now that army does not pay any minister or MLA in Jammu and Kashmir, he replied, "Yes, you can say that."