JK Ministers On Army Payroll: Singh

JK Ministers On Army Payroll: Singh

24 September 2013
Rising Kashmir


New Delhi: Former Indian army chief General (Retd) V K Singh Tuesday dropped another bombshell by saying that ministers in the State are being paid by army for “stability and harmony” of the State. “Army transfers money to all the ministers in Jammu and Kashmir because there are various things to be done and ministers have to do so many things as part of the stabilising factor in the State and for organising various activities,” Singh told private TV channel Times Now. Asked whether all ministers are paid, he said, “May be not all the ministers but certain ministers and people are given a certain sum to get a particular thing done. That job involves bringing stability to a particular area.” “There are times like who funded KPL (Kashmir Premier League)? Did the JK government or Omar Abdullah fund it? The Army funded it,” he said. Gen V K Singh, whose tenure as Army Chief was shrouded in a controversy over his date of birth, said, “Kashmir is a different issue altogether. A lot of things are done where you do a lot of civic and youth work. For all this, money is needed. A certain amount of money is given for these works. Where is the problem?” He was responding to allegations that a minister in J&K government Ghulam Hassan Mir was paid Rs 1.19 crore by the Technical Support Division (TSD) set up during his tenure to destabilise the state government. Asked if a minister like Mir takes money and siphons it off, Singh said, “I do not think so. We have a system to ensure its accountability. There are proper receipts and ensured that the work given is done.” “This had been going on in J&K since India’s independence. This is a system to ensure that all the governments are helped. To ensure things are done. This is nothing new,” he said. He further said there are things which happen in J&K, which are inimical to the country. “We have a job and that is to keep the country together. If we find that we can help, that integrity can be maintained, if we find things can be done, then the army steps in.” While addressing a press conference at his residence in Gurgaon this afternoon, Singh said money given to the ministers in J&K 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,” he clarified. He said the money 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 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. “The “leakage” of an army inquiry report on the functioning of the controversial Technical Support Division (TSD) set up by him amounted to treason,” retired army chief said and rejected the contention that the intelligence unit was his “private army”. He 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, Singh 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,” Singh said adding had the unit not been disbanded the recent incidents along the borders would not have taken place.