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No troop fear: Antony

New Delhi, Feb. 21: Defence minister A.K. Antony today said there was little concern in the government over the movements of the army after a former top general claimed that the Centre had worried about troop movements near the capital in January 2012.

There were insinuations in April 2012 that the movements of an armoured column and para commandos were aimed at staging a coup.

Lt General A.K. Chaudhary, former director-general of military operations, had claimed that he was summoned by then defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma close to midnight on January 16-17, 2012, and asked to explain the movements.

Chaudhary, who has since retired, said that he was asked to explain the movements of an armoured column from Hissar and an independent para brigade from Agra. They were routine training exercises that army formations may undertake without necessarily informing higher commands.

The movements coincided with a dramatic case that then army chief, V.K. Singh, had filed against the Centre in the Supreme Court over the issue of his date of birth.

Chaudhary said “their might have been mistrust” at the time between the civilian and military leaderships. National security adviser Shivshankar Menon said today he did not see evidence of such distrust.

Defence minister Antony said both he and defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, who is now the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), had clarified that the troop movements were routine.

V.K. Singh tweeted that Chaudhury’s claim proved that a bureaucrat with a strong “Chandigarh-connection” had deliberately distorted the army’s training exercise and presented an alarmist version of events.