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Centre should probe V.K. Singh’s remarks, says Omar Abdullah

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Centre should probe V.K. Singh’s remarks, says Omar Abdullah
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New Delhi: Breaking his silence on former Army chief V.K. Singh’s remarks that Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir were given money by the Army, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the Centre should conduct a thorough probe as allegations made by Gen. Singh cannot be brushed aside.

“Majority of mainstream politicians have no financial dealing with the Army. Therefore, this accusation of his (Gen. Singh) that all Ministers since 1947 have taken money from the Army, I think it is important that the Government of India conducts a threadbare inquiry and the findings, whatever they may be, should be shared with us,” he told reporters in Srinagar.

“I think the Government of India needs to come clean on this. Otherwise, all mainstream political parties are today being looked at with suspicion,” Mr. Abdullah said.

This is the first reaction of the Chief Minister since the controversy broke out on Friday following a media report which claimed that Technical Service Division, an intelligence unit set up V K Singh, had allegedly paid Rs. 1.19 crore to State Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir to topple the State government in 2010.

Mr. Abdullah said the claim made by the former Army chief cannot be “dismissed out of hand” and “they require further investigation”.

“The matter is being taken up with the Government of India formally for further action. I don’t think beyond that it would be appropriate for me to say anything other than the fact that this effort that is being made to vilify all mainstream political parties is extremely unfortunate,” he said.

Mr. Mir, an independent MLA from Tangmarg, has said, “I have nothing to do with it. It is a blatant lie.”

Facing fire over his remarks that Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir were given money by the Army, V.K. Singh had on Tuesday sought to do damage control by saying it was not a bribe.

“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 had said.

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