Eight former army chiefs on Friday trashed former Army chief general VK Singh’s statement that the army had been paying off politicians in Jammu and Kashmir to bring in stability, insisting that the force had never provided such funding.
“No funds were ever provided by the army to any politician, political party or NGO in our tenures, and nor would we have allowed that," the former chiefs said in joint statement. It was issued by Generals OP Malhotra, SF Rodrigues, S Roychowdhury, VP Malik, S Padamanabhan, NC Vij, JJ Singh and Deepak Kapoor.
VK Singh had said a covert unit set up by him had funded stability projects in the conflict-torn state, though he later clarified that politicians had not been bribed.
Singh had said the technical support division had funded some projects covertly as the army’s Sadbhavna schemes were viewed with suspicion as they carried a “sarkari” tag.
But the former chiefs said the aspect of paying off ministers should not be confused with Sadbhavna operations aimed at providing infrastructure, education and health services. They said the defence budget catered to “pre and post-audited funds” for such operations, “with laid down deliverables and procedures.”
The chiefs stressed the army was “completely apolitical.”