Gurgaon, Sep 24 (PTI): Money given by the army to ministers in Jammu & Kashmir was for creating goodwill among the people and not for their personal use, former army chief VK Singh clarified on Tuesday after coming under intense fire over his public statement a day ago.
“I did not commit any mistake. When I had said some politicians were given money, it was not meant for their personal purpose or political purpose. It was not for lining their pockets or for bribe. If somebody says that any minister was given a bribe, it is totally wrong,” the retired general said.
“It was meant solely for stability...to win hearts and minds of people, to wean people away from separatist activities under the overall umbrella of sadbhavna (harmony),” he told reporters at a press conference at his residence here.
Gen Singh called a press conference after his remarks on Monday came under attack from various quarters including Union Ministers, a former chief minister of J&K and the Congress party.
He claimed such activities are carried out by the Army in many areas and are not limited to Jammu & Kashmir. He, however, refused to name anyone.
He said the “leakage” of an army inquiry report on the functioning of the controversial Technical Support Division (TSD) set up by him amounted to treason and rejected the contention that the intelligence unit was his “private army”.
Singh suspected that the report was “leaked” and a controversy is being sought to be created in order to cover up certain “burning issues”.
“After the report surfaced, a number of burning issues were pushed to the background. Was this not a reason behind leaking the report...all this was done deliberately to create a smokescreen and divert the attention of the people,” he alleged.
Slamming those who “leaked” the report about the functioning of the intelligence unit, he said “if we discuss the functioning of the intelligence agencies in public, then it is treason.... It should be probed how this report was being leaked and action should be taken against persons who have attempted to make such a leak. This is treason.”
He said such activities could not be carried out while being in uniform, therefore intelligence units carry out such tasks.
“Some people who say that the unit was my private army should discard such ideas. This unit was functioning under the DG, Military Intelligence. I am not here to micromanage things. I commanded 12 lakh men,” said Singh.
He also claimed that had the unit not been disbanded the recent incidents along the borders would not have taken place. ”This is my claim.”