New Delhi, Sept 24 (PTI): The government is ready to probe former Army chief V K Singh’s allegation that the army had paid Jammu & Kashmir politicians “stability” but it needs the names, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said on Tuesday.
“V K Singh should name politicians. He should reveal the names (of those to whom money was allegedly paid). If details are given, we can investigate,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
The Home Minister's remarks came in the wake of the retired general's statement that that the army gives money to “certain ministers” in the state for “stability” and that this has been going on since Independence.
Singh, who is in the thick of a storm over reports that that attempts were made to topple the Jammu & Kashmir government during his tenure as the Army chief, had said on Monday that the “Army transfers money to all the ministers in Jammu and Kashmir...because there are various things to be done and ministers have to do so many things as part of the stabilising factor in the state and for organising various activities.”
Questioned whether all ministers are paid, Gen Singh amended his statement, saying, “May be not all the ministers but certain ministers and people who are given a certain sum to get a particular thing done. That job involves bringing stability to a particular area.”
The Congress, however, reacted sharply to Gen Singh's remarks, with a former Chief Minister of the state expressing shock and a party spokesman terming the statement “irresponsible”.
Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister, expressed shock and curiosity over Singh's claims, and said, “I was myself shocked to know this, because I have been myself the Chief Minister.
“I have no knowledge about this and I am as curious as you are to know about the names of the persons who were being paid and who are being paid,” he said when asked to comment on the ex-Army chief's claims.
He said he had been the Chief Minister of the state for two-and-a-half years and Singh's claims made on television were “news to me”. ”I have no clue and had no clue at that point of time that such things are being done or such things are happening in the state,” Azad said.
Congress spokesperson P C Chacko said Singh’s “irresponsible” statements brought “disgrace” to the Army.
“What he has said, I do not think he himself can prove it,” Chacko said.
“Even a retired general is a general....He should not be making such statements,” he added.
Azad said, “If I never came to know, how does the present or earlier Chief Minister would know this.”
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said, “He (Singh) should have said this while he was in service. Why is he saying all this when he has retired.”