I stand by my statement, says Gen Singh

New Delhi: Former Army General (retd) V K Singh today said he stands by his statement that money was indeed transferred to politicians in Jammu and Kashmir as part of `stabilising work.’ He also said that money was paid not just to politicians in J&K but in other troubled states too.
He clarified that the money paid to politicians or NGOs was not a bribe or for political purposes. It was meant for `Sadbhavana’ activities that would preserve national unity and integrity.
The money was for social purposes so that the Army could build bridges with the people.
Gen Singh also said that all the money was accounted for and signed even by the Defence Secretary. He pleaded that the activities of secret services of the Army should be kept secret so that the enemy does not gain. He demanded action on officials who leaked out the reports of the activities Army’s intelligence unit. “Anybody who has done should be tried for treason,” he added.
Gen Singh said had the intelligence unit of the Army not been pulled into controversy, the present tragedies at our border would not have happened.
He alleged that all this is being brought into public domain in order to divert the attention of issues that were far for grave. He demanded a probe into the entire episode.
Earlier, a massive row broke out over Singh’s revelation that the Army transfers money to politicians in Jammu and Kashmir as part of “stabilising work.”
While an embarrassed Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, whose son Omar Abdullah rules J&K, has demanded a probe into Gen Singh’s charge, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asked the General to reveal the names of the ministers who got Army money so that an enquiry could be ordered. Farooq called Gen Singh’s statement `terrible’ and `sad’, saying the Army has to remain apolitical.
An embattled National Conference, badgered by the Opposition Panther’s Party, demanded a CBI enquiry.
The former Army Chief implied that both the defence minister and the J&K CM must be aware of the practice and added, “This has not been invented by Gen. V.K. Singh.” He also insisted that such payments did “not constitute interference” in the affairs of the civilian government in the state and added that this was meant to assist them.
General Singh’s revelations came after he was asked about an Army report that purportedly mentioned that more than Rs 1 crore was paid to a minister in J&K by the Technical Support Division (TSD) — a controversial military intelligence unit that was created during the tenure of Gen. Singh but which has now been disbanded.
Gen Singh went a step further claiming that the Army has paid all ministers in Jammu and Kashmir since Independence, and that everyone in the system, including the Defence Ministry, knew about this.
This money, he said, was being given to ministers to "ensure that the people are kept together". He was speaking to a TV channel.
"The Army transfers money to all the ministers in Jammu and Kashmir... there are various things to be done. As part of the stabilising factor in Jammu and Kashmir, as part of the activities to be organised," Singh told the TV channel.
As an afterthought, Singh added: "maybe not all the ministers but certain ministers and people who are given a certain sum to get a particular thing done. That job involves bringing stability to a particular area".
When asked if Chief Minister Omar Abdullah knew about these money transfers, Singh shot back saying: "If as a chief minister you do not know this, you are not running the state".

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