A high-level army probe has exposed the dirty tricks of a secret military intelligence unit, which gained notoriety during former army chief General VK Singh's tenure, and recommended immediate disbanding of the unit.
The investigation, conducted by director general of military operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, revealed that the technical services division (TSD) - the innocuous name for the unit - overstepped its mandate and diverted funds to compromise Gen Bikram Singh's chances of taking over as VK Singh's successor.
Although VK Singh could not be reached, his lawyer, Vishwajeet Singh, said the former chief had not directed the TSD to carry out any campaign against Gen Bikram Singh.
But sources said the board of officers, headed by Gen Bhatia, found that the TSD had diverted the army's secret funds to get a public interest litigation filed against Gen Bikram Singh over an alleged fake encounter in Kashmir in 2001.
The PIL was filed last year by a little known NGO when Gen VK Singh's age row was at its peak. Gen Bikram Singh was then a brigadier in the Kashmir Valley.
As first reported by HT on August 23, 2012, Gen Bikram Singh constituted the board of officers during that month to probe the TSD's mandate, tasks executed by it and scrutinise its financial records. The TSD, which reported to VK Singh, had a budget of Rs. 18 crore.
At a time when a false propaganda was on that Gen Bikram Singh's daughter-in-law was of Pakistani origin, TSD officials splurged tax payers' money to visit Dubai - where the current army chief's son and daughter-in-law reside - in attempts to establish the link that never existed, the probe found.
VK Singh's lawyer, Vishwajeet Singh, said, "TSD personnel may have visited several countries, but it was never in connection with the current chief."
The unit had also faced allegations of listening in on mobile conversations of politicians and bureaucrats when VK Singh had locked horns with the government over the age issue.
VK Singh, who retired on May 31, 2012, claimed he was born in 1951, contrary to official records that showed him a year older.