New Delhi, Sept. 21: Former army chief V.K. Singh has re-opened his bruising battle with the government in the wake of a report that alleged he misused an intelligence unit.
“The whole report is hogwash and motivated,” he has said. The former army chief also blamed a clique he loosely identified as “the Chandigarh lobby”.
He said he could have stopped the appointment of General Bikram Singh as his successor and questioned the decision of the judiciary in not giving a ruling on his date of birth “when it can decide that a rapist and murderer is a juvenile on the basis of his matriculation certificate”.
Since the government said yesterday that it was studying an army report on the intelligence unit, the technical support division (TSD), and the BJP cried political vendetta against V.K. Singh because he had shared the dais at a public rally with Modi, the retired chief decided to go public through an interview to audio-visual news agency ANI.
On the allegation that he used funds for the TSD to try and topple the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir, the former chief said: “The army has given stability to Kashmir… Mr Abdullah is playing politics”.
He said the TSD was set up after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. Its establishment had the approval of the then national security adviser (M.K. Narayanan, now the Bengal governor) and the defence ministry. V.K. Singh was the chief of army staff from March 31, 2010 to May 31, 2012.
On allegations that he tried to stall the appointment of General Bikram Singh, V.K. Singh said: “There is a case against Bikram Singh in court, if we wanted to cause problems we could have by changing the army’s stance.
“It involves the killing of a man, a 70-year-old, who is labelled as a foreign terrorist. There is no terrorist in J&K who is more than 30 to 40-years-old….”
The case was dismissed by the Jammu and Kashmir High court, which ruled that the encounter was genuine. Bikram Singh, then a brigadier, was injured in the encounter and a colonel and a soldier were killed.
V.K. Singh, who took the unprecedented step of dragging the government to court when he was army chief, was still hurting from the controversy over his date of birth.
But in revealing his wounds, the former army chief has also risked blaming the judiciary — he had challenged the government in the Supreme Court on the question of his date of birth but the court decided not to give a ruling and the general had to withdraw his petition.
“If the superior judiciary of this country can believe the matriculation certificate, and say a rapist and a murderer is a juvenile, what happens to my certificate… Why didn’t they give a decision?” he asked, in a reference to the December 16 gang rape and murder case in which one of the convicts was declared a juvenile on the basis of his school certificate.
In V.K. Singh’s case, the Supreme Court had questioned why he was raising the matter after having earlier accepted the date of birth in his service records and gone on to become army chief.