Srinagar, Oct. 9: Former army chief V.K. Singh will be summoned by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to explain his claims about alleged army payoffs to state ministers.
“I will summon him very soon,” Speaker Mubarak Gul said today after pandemonium in the House over Singh’s remarks.
Opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members asked the Speaker to summon Singh within a month but Gul fixed no time frame. “The option of calling a special session of Assembly to discuss the sensitive issue is also open,” the Speaker said, trying to pacify agitated members.
Singh had said the army had been paying off ministers in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. He later modified his statement and said the money was not a bribe but was meant to win over people in the state through development activities.
Last week, the Supreme Court issued Singh a contempt notice over recent remarks in which he questioned the court’s wisdom in not resolving his age dispute with the Centre while in service.
Today, the ruckus in the House began when law minister and ruling National Conference leader Saifullah Mir asked the Speaker to formally summon Singh instead of sending a letter.
The PDP members soon joined in, some storming the well and one climbing the bench. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti suggested a vote on summoning Singh but the Speaker rejected the idea.
“His (Singh’s) allegations have not only brought disrepute to the army but also severely dented the credibility of the democratic institutions in the state,” finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather said.
The BJP and the Panthers Party, however, opposed the move to summon Singh.
As the din continued, the Speaker was forced to adjourn the House. But tempers did not cool even after the proceedings resumed, prompting the Speaker to adjourn the House for the day.
The National Conference had last week moved a breach of privilege motion against Singh. Yesterday, the House passed a resolution asking the Centre to probe Singh’s claims, with chief minister Omar Abdullah saying the allegations cannot be dismissed.