Assembly Passes Resolution Seeking Probe Into Gen Singh’s Allegations

Assembly Passes Resolution Seeking Probe Into Gen Singh’s Allegations

7 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Srinagar: The Legislative Assembly today unanimously passed a resolution seeking probe from the Centre into the charges levelled by former Army chief, General V K Singh against the State’s mainstream politicians about political payoffs. The one line resolution unanimously passed at the end of around three and a half hour discussion on the allegations made by General Singh urged Union Government to constitute a time bound and transparent inquiry into it. The resolution passed through voice vote reads: “The House unanimously resolves that the allegation made by General (retired) V K Singh should be enquired in a time bound and transparent manner by the Government of India.” The moving of resolution for seeking inquiry was suggested by CPI (M) leader and MLA, M Y Tarigami at the end of the statement made by Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah to conclude the discussion on the revelations made by V K Singh. The Chief Minister then moved a one line resolution that was put to voice vote by the Speaker of the House, Mubarak Gul and was passed unanimously. The Speaker, however, reserved his judgment on the Privilege Motion moved by National Conference Ministers and MLAs against General Singh for what they said discrediting mainstream politicians and dishonouring the House. Earlier in his statement to conclude the discussion on the revelations of General Singh, Omar said if the Centre really wants to do justice with the institution of mainstream politics, it should not dismiss these allegations. “Right or wrong, we will wait for the outcome of the inquiry. We don’t want to jump to the conclusion but there should be a time-bound probe that will bring out the facts. There is no other way to restore the image of mainstream politicians among the people,” Chief Minister said. Omar said the mainstream political institutions were in danger and the allegations levelled by General Singh had caused unprecedented damage to these institutions. “We are not responsible for this damage. It was your inquiry into the functioning of Technical Services Division of Army. The leak took place from there but we are bearing the consequences,” the Chief Minister said. Omar said the allegations of Singh can’t be brushed under carpet. Singh has made allegations of money being paid to mainstream politicians in the State. “He has made all of us suspects. The Chief Minister said that Singh has raised finger over the Panchayat elections as well. “He has raised finger of suspicion over the Panchayat Institution. He has made all 35, 000 Panchayat members suspect and tomorrow if they are targeted who is responsible, it is he”, he asked. Omar said the politicians of the State have to face the people few months later in Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls. “If we have to face the people with this stigma of V K Singh, then that might be the Centre’s wish. As much as we would try to give explanations who will buy them,” he said. The Chief Minister said as the leader of the House he was duty bound not to ignore the allegations made by Gen Singh and wrote a letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on September 25. “On September 25, I have written to the Prime Minister of India for the need of instituting a probe into the allegations made by the General (retired) VK Singh jeopardizing the mainstream polity in Jammu and Kashmir and creating suspicion in the minds of people on the role of Army”, said Omar. The Chief Minister read out the text of his D O to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, in the Assembly while winding up the discussion. The D O letter of Omar to the Prime Minister reads: “I wish to draw your kind attention towards a news item that has appeared in the print media and also extensively debated on certain TV channels relating to alleged payments by some establishment of Army Authorities to a few politicians including Ministers in the J&K Government. Apparently, this news has its origin from an internal inquiry conducted by the Army Authorities. The said news has spawned a great deal of anger in the public in general and the political class in particular in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The charges, being of serious nature, need to be probed in order to arrive at truth which can be shared with the general public. Without any specific details the finger of suspicion is being pointed towards all mainstream politicians. This has caused enormous damage to the institutions of democracy in the State and allowed forces inimical to the democratic processes here to paint all mainstream politicians as paid operatives of the Army. I would request you to ask the Ministry of Defence to share the contents of the above mentioned report with the State Government and also disclose the names of the people to whom the money has allegedly been transferred. Such a course of action will help clear the confusion and doubts from the minds of the people and restore, to a significant extent, credibility of mainstream political parties-members amongst our people”. Justifying the probe, the Chief Minister said that in order to restore the credibility of the politicians and democratic institutions including those of Panchayats, it is the need of the hour. Omar said that by asking questions to former Army Chief about his role should not be dubbed as belittling the role of Army and the high credibility of Indian Armed Forces which have given huge sacrifices for safeguarding the borders and ensuring safety and security of the people. “Asking Retired General about his extra-curricular role does not in any way contribute to belittling the Indian Army as statement made by him is as a private person”, the CM said and maintained that the findings were identified by the Army itself which got leaked and became the subject matter for political and media discussion. “We have always saluted Army for the good work it has rendered, but whenever we thought some shortcomings we categorically brought those to the notice of the Army. No individual or no institution is against army. They are on border giving sacrifices. We salute their good works and sacrifices”, said Omar. The Chief Minister said that by Singh allegations “we have fallen in the eyes of people, whether we have taken money or not”. “Our opponents have got a weapon and it is a conspiracy to weaken the electoral process in the State. At some places less people cast votes and at other places more people come out to vote but it is the decision of people who to chose”, he said. Omar said that this is the democracy and “we live in democratic set up but not in a dictatorial system.” He said that the General has played with the honour of the mainstream politicians. The Chief Minister said that he has not asked the Agriculture Minister, Ghulam Hassan Mir whether he has taken Rs. 1.19 crore. “I leave this to his conscience whether he has taken it or not but if I had believed that he has taken it to topple my government I would have asked him to resign”, he said maintaining that even a Municipal Corporation could not be toppled by Rs. 1.19 crore not to talk of the State Government. Omar said that the disclosures made by Singh have put the democratic institutions in the State to most dangerous threat which these have not come across so far. “Retired General’s differences with me or his opposition to AFSPA is irrelevant in this regard. For that matter the serving Army Chief has also not agreed to the partial revocation of AFSPA. The matter is under discussion and would be resolved”, the CM said separating this issue from the main issue of disclosures made by Singh. The Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir while speaking before CM’s speech on the allegations made by Singh against him rejected them and said that he is ready to face an inquiry. “I have not done anything which will put the head of any member to shame,” he announced. Mir said allegations were made against his person. “It is not the question of any individual but the credibility of entire House, Democracy and institution of Army. India is a biggest democracy in the world. State acceded with India only because of democracy. However, no country can survive without Army which has a biggest role. Army cannot interfere in democracy. Army played a great role in bringing peace because of which elections were held in the State. “Nobody is in the House because of agencies but people voted for them. I want credibility of the House,” said Mir. He was ready for any inquiry. Speaking on the occasion, senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beg sought credible enquiry on the allegations levelled by Singh against State Ministers and politicians. “By issuing different statements, a retired Army chief, VK Singh not only tarnished the image of an individual Minister, he in fact, tarnished the image of an institution we all represent”, said Beg. Beg, informed the House that enquiry against Singh is not an enquiry against the Indian Army. “He has issued statements against State ministers on his personal behalf and not on the behalf of institution he held,” he elaborated. Beg said that by issuing statement against the Panchayat elections in the State, VK Singh has belittled sacrifices rendered by the elected members, who sacrificed their lives to make the process transparent. “Singh’s claims blemished the public image of Mir. The given amount isn’t even enough to change a Municipality. “I don’t think Omer Abdullah led coalition Government is so weak that it could be toppled by mere amount of Rs 1.19 crores,” said Beg. Stressing the need for adopting a firm stand against the Singh’s utterances Beg said that it is the only way to correct the image of the Ministers. “In case, we remain unmoved over the issue, the I don’t think I can face public in election”, he said. The leader of Opposition Mehbooba Mufti said: “It is a blot on us. The revelations were not a surprise for people of Jammu and Kashmir. People knew that everything is not well in Kashmir as agencies play a role. People’s suspicion became a reality.” Mehbooba alleged that manipulations in J&K are in the National interest. “Why was it leaked and why was not any action taken by the Government”, she questioned. “It has tarnished our image. It is mudslinging against us and we have to go to its bottom. Everyone is has not taken money. There are people who have no houses in Srinagar. They still have their ancestral Houses in villages”, said the PDP leader. The BJP leader Professor Chaman Lal Gupta said that if someone has disagreement with VK Singh’s statement, Assembly should write a letter to him. He said that elections in the State are free and fair. “If Singh has said that politicians are paid money, it is wrong. He should not have said this. If VK Singh has said something wrong, there is law and action will be taken against him”, said Gupta. BJP leader Ashok Khajuria blamed the members of the House that the discussion is being turned against Army. He said that an inquiry committee be formed to reveal the truth. “The General should be also heard”, he added. “If VK Singh has said this, he should not be brought here for humiliation. If you have to humiliate, the humiliate Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Syed Salahudin”, suggested Khajuria. Speaking on the occasion, NPP leader Harshdev Singh said that Indian Army is most decorated and disciplined army in the world. He told the House that the members are here when Army secures the borders. NPP leader said that due to General’s revelations allegations are being levelled against Army. He asked members not to level allegations against the army. “If you are bringing a privilege motion against VK Singh bring it also against US Ambassador who made revelation about the money being given to politicians in the State”, said Harshdev Singh. NPP leader demanding inquiry into the siphoning off of the money meant for Sadhhavana. The ruling NC member Dr Mustafa Kamaal demanded resignation of Mir. He said he has also defamed the party that has adopted him. “It is his moral obligations to resign as his name has surfaced”, he said. Communist Party of India (M) member Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Independent Er Sheikh Abdul Rashid also asked Mir to resign on moral grounds till the inquiry was conducted. Engineer Rashid said that Government should take action against the Minister whose name has surfaced in payoffs. Tarigami said levelling allegations against the Ministers in J&K is unacceptable. It is defamation against the people of the State. He said these allegations are a scar on Indian democracy, Indian Army and the House. “We should not allow anybody to weaken the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. It is unacceptable. Let a credible probe be conducted by Supreme court judge so that truth is revealed”, demanded Tarigami. Congress leader GM Saroori and impendent MLA Hakeem Yasin also spoke on the occasion. Both the leaders demanded that VK Singh should be brought to the House and taken to task.