Former Army chief General VK Singh has refuted claims made by a report on The Indian Express that he was the brains behind a unit within the Army which had tried toppling the Jammu and Kashmir government using secret funds.
In an interview with Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN IBN, he suggested that the newspaper had a history of attacking him based on political motivations, mentioning a previous story carried by the paper that his decision to move two units of troops towards Delhi had triggered fears of a coup.
Singh, who had lashed out at The Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta earlier in the day and suggested he was hand-in-glove in with the UPA government, said that he was unsure if Gupta had a personal agenda involved in the incident.
"I don't know if he has a personal agenda. But what does one say when he comes to my house, has a meal with me, hears my explanation of the situation and then goes back to print a story with a banner headline that suggests that the Army acted against the government because two units had moved," he said.
The current story in question, that was published on The Indian Express on 20 September said that an Army inquiry has found that, "Rs 1.19 crore was given to Ghulam Hassan Mir, presently Agriculture Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, to engineer a change of government in Jammu and Kashmir".
The enquiry was reportedly led by Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia, DG, Military Operations, the findings of which are now with defence minister AK Antony who will further forward it to the Prime Minister's office.
Countering the claim, Singh said that there was a 'secret fund' but that was being used to take measures that would eventually keep Kashmiri youth away from terrorism and other such disruptive activities. "If governments could be toppled with just one crore rupees, then so many governments would have been toppled in India already," he told the channel.
Singh clarified that the 'secret funds' were given to an organisation which would carry out activities like blood donation camps, promoting women's education, and keeping children out from the stone throwing mentality of several Kashmiris.
The Indian Express report also states:
"Rs 2.38 crore was given to one Hakikat Singh on orders from Army Headquarters. Hakikat Singh set up an NGO named "Jammu and Kashmir Humanitarian Service Organisation (JKHSO)," which was linked to "Yes Kashmir," another NGO which filed a PIL against then Army Commander Bikram Singh (who is now the Army Chief) in the alleged fake encounter case in Jangalat Mandi when Bikram Singh was a Brigadier."
Singh trashed the claim saying that 'Yes Kashmir' is not associated with the NGO which carries out developmental projects in J&K, the same one which received money from the unit set up by him. He said that no money was paid to anyone to bring in charges against Bikram Singh.
The ex-Army chief also defended himself and the spending of funds without the knowledge of the ministry saying, "He doesn't have to be aware of it. He has given us a task and we carry it out."
Commenting on whether he is ready for a collaboration with BJP and Narendra Modi, he said that just because he is seen with someone, doesn't mean there's a political agenda behind the meeting. He also said he has not made up his mind about either Modi's fitness to be PM or if he himself wants to join his campaign.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Sep 24, 2013 10:57:16 IST