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Singh says money to J&K ministers was not bribe

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Singh says money to J&K ministers was not bribe
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Gurgaon: Facing fire over his statement that ministers in Jammu and Kashmir were given money by the Army, former Army chief Gen V.K. Singh on Tuesday sought to do damage control by saying it was not a bribe but aimed at creating goodwill among people.

“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.

“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 said addressing a press conference at his residence in Gurgaon.

Gen Singh met reporters as his Monday’s remarks came under attack from various quarters including Union Ministers, a former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and the Congress party.

He claimed such activities are carried out by the Army in many areas and are not limited to Jammu and 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”.

Gen 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 cannot 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.”

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.”

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