VK Singh versus Bikram Singh
Indian former General Vijay Kumar Singh has been accused of setting up of a top secret intelligence unit that carried out \\\”unauthorized operations\\\” and financial wrongdoings. The functioning of an intelligence unit, without the permission of Defense Minister, seems to be a serious charge against General V. K. Singh. The Indian Army has requested the Defense Ministry to probe into the matter. The report has been given to the Defense Minister by the present Army chief.
The Indian Army has recommended an independent investigation. It seems to be a general-versus general row. A war of words is going on between the two generals to justify their viewpoint. The controversy has spread like a wild fire in the Indian media. It is generally believed that former Army chief misused the secret service funds. The Indian government says that he is now playing politics that can be harmful to the solidarity of the nation. The question is: would government \\\”hand over the inquiry report into the functioning of TSD to an external investigation agency.\\\”
The Army conducted a secret investigation against V.K. Singh. It is reported that the former Army chief V. K. Singh misused secret service funds to overthrow or destabilize the puppet regime of Omar Abdullah in Jammu and Kashmir. Lt General Vinod Bhatia, director general military operations, has claimed that V. K. Singh gave Rs 1.19 crore to agriculture minister of Indian held Kashmir to complete the task. Nonetheless, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Agriculture Minister in the held Kashmir, has denied allegation.
Moreover, V. K. Singh himself has acknowledged that Indian Intelligence \\\”carried out at least eight successful concealed operations in a foreign country viz. Pakistan. The issue has become a cause of embarrassment for the ruling party in India. Further, the Technical Support Division (TSD) is accused of illegally tapping phones of senior Defense Ministry officials. The claims are sensitive and sensational. It seems that investigation would not help because of lack of any concrete evidence. It is believed that Defense Ministry is one of the most corrupt ministries in India. It is presided over by a weak and ineffective minister A. K. Antony. Moreover, the government and Indian Army are hesitant to take any quick action against the former army chief.
It is reported that Rs 2.38 crore was given to Hakikat Singh to establish an NGO named \\\’Jammu and Kashmir Humanitarian Service Organization. The basic purpose of this NGO was to involve present \\\”chief Gen Bikram Singh in the alleged fake encounter case in Jangalat Mandi when he was a brigadier.\\\” According to report at least three retired lieutenant generals, including an Army commander, were involved in \\\”some of the payoffs of military intelligence funds for TSD activities.\\\” The secret fund was also used \\\”to make an attempt to change the line of succession in the Army top brass.\\\”
Another charge is that off-air interception equipment was bought from a Singapore-based company from the secret fund in November 2010.Though this was officially for Srinagar-based 15 Corps, it was misused for tapping into phone calls in New Delhi. In March 2012, the equipment was destroyed in Jammu and Kashmir. According to then director general of military intelligence, Lt General D.S. Thakur, he ordered destruction of the equipment on instruction from the top brass. General V. K. Singh, now in the opposite camp of Congress, has already denied all allegations calling the issue as government\\\’s vendetta politics. The defense ministry seems to be under pressure and Manmohan Sigh seems to be an inefficient and ineffective prime minister of India. V.K. Singh claims that he has been targeted because of arms lobby and people in bureaucracy against him. BJP President is morally supporting the former Army chief General V.K. Singh who shared his views with Narendra Modi.
He is asking the reason for holding investigation against Singh one year after his retirement. BJP claims that former Army chief V. K. Singh was falsely accused of several charges.
V. K. Singh claims that he was offered a huge amount of money as bribe from a vehicle manufacturing company. He verbally informed the defense minister that he was offered a bribe of US$ 2.7 million to purchase several sub-standard vehicles, while defense minister says that he requested Singh at the time to provide a written statement about the issue. But he never handed over a written statement regarding the issue.
The proof of the offer is available in the form of tapes. The problem seems to be in the justice system. The genuine probe, however, can sort out the matter. It then may become India\\\’s Armsgate scam. Nonetheless, it is believed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is well-connected and linked to the Congress Party. It may doctor and destroy the tapes once gained control over them. Indian opposition claims that V. K. Singh is fighting against corruption to make India more secure. Gen VK Singh is a hero and true warrior in the eyes of the opposition while Congress considers him a new player or villain in the field of opposition. Though nationalist, he would possibly join BJP in the near future.
The controversy has damaged the credibility of the politicians and Indian army officers severely. India seems to be a country of crooked and tactful officers and politicians. The claims of both grieved parties are sensitive and sensational.
The scam has brought disrepute for the Indian forces and the ruling Congress party in India and raised several questions about the functioning of the Indian forces. It would have bad impact on the working relationship between defense ministry and Indian forces. It has also weakened the core values, traditions and system of the army. The negative stories certainly have adverse impact on the morale of the Indian forces. It seems that there is lack of co-working and relationship between defense ministry and Indian forces. There is an open trust deficit between the two institutions.(Muhammad Daheem)