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Leakage of Letter to PM High Treason: Gen Singh
The war of attrition between the Army Chief and government showed no signs of abating with Gen V K Singh describing as "high treason" the leak of his letter on defence preparedness and the government promising that those responsible would be given "maximum punishment".

As Gen Singh's March 12 letter to Prime Minister in which he had complained about lack of defence preparedness continued to generate controversy, he issued a strongly worded statement in which he said the source of leak should be dealt with "ruthlessly".

In a brief statement released by Army Headquarters, Gen Singh, who is currently in Jammu and Kashmir, said his official communication with the Prime Minister and Defence Minister is "privileged" communication.

"The leakage of the letter should be treated as high treason. Cynical approach to tarnish my reputation should stop. Sources of the leakage should be found and dealt with ruthlessly," said Singh, who is due to retire on May 31.

At a press conference in Delhi, Defence Minister A K Antony vowed to take the "strongest action" under laws against those responsible for the leak of Gen Singh's letter to the Prime Minister.

He disclosed that the Intelligence Bureau has been asked to go into the leak of the letter and said the government will get to the root of it and find out the persons behind the "anti-national" act.

Maintaining that no patriotic Indian would indulge in leak of sensitive communication because it would only help the enemies, Antony said the report will be available at the earliest.

"I assure you that we will not leave it there. We will make every possible attempt to find out the real culprits who have done this anti-national activity and they will be given the maximum punishment under the Indian Penal Code," he said.

Asked whether government would take action on demands for removal of Gen Singh, the Minister said, "all the three service chiefs still enjoy the confidence of the government. They are working...Otherwise, how can they continue".

He was asked whether Gen Singh still enjoyed the government's pleasure and confidence and whether the government would continue to "grin and bear" him till retirement in May or ask him to go on leave following a spate of controversies surrounding him.

The Minister's remarks on the confidence in the service chiefs came moments after a statement issued by Gen Singh from Jammu that the leak of his letter should be treated as "high treason" and its source should be dealt with "ruthlessly".

Ever since he lost the battle over the age issue, Gen Singh has been at loggerheads with the government and has given media interviews claiming he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to swing a substandard defence deal.

On top of acrimony over the issue, the leak of his secret letter to the Prime Minister enraged parliamentarians and political parties, some of whom demanded his removal.

Today, in yet another embarrassment to the government, a Delhi newspaper carried a story that Gen Singh has referred to the CBI a corruption complaint of a Trinamool Congress MP against Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who commands the Dimpaur-based 3 Corps and is in line to be Army Chief after Singh's successor.

Initially Antony sought to parry questions on the controversies surrounding the Army chief urging journalists not to bring Army into all controversies and damage institutions.

Asked if he felt a sense of betrayal, Antony said he would not reveal his personal feelings and his judgements would be on the basis on facts.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

47/D-145
Mar 30, 2012
03:44 PM

#46/D-125 @Santhosh " ... someone walking into an army chief’s room and offering a bribe is something that i still find surreal."

It is not just 'someone' walking into the army chief's room. It was someone from his own fraternity, and a senior (I believe he was already retired). So the reason for visit could easily have been camouflaged.

Offer/Demand of bribe is rarely done explicitly. It is always subtle to the extent that it can be interpreted in any way.

K.Suresh, Bangalore
46/D-125
Mar 30, 2012
02:01 PM

Whatever, noted. Just a couple of clarifications.
(1) While there are differing opinions on whether or not precise knowledge about our defence preparedness (or lack of it) should be part of the public domain, i believe that such knowledge should (or not) be placed in public domain by the concerned civilian authority – in this case the DM or the PM. It cannot be the case that because the civilian authority is weak (or not forthcoming), this chain of command is violated. It is an unhealthy precedent that has been going on for a while -- the army informing the public through the media that force reduction in Kashmir is harmful while a political consensus was being attempted, their open opposition to the AFSPA in the North-East, and a few other instances. It could be reasonably argued that the army might have a point, but by echoing its grievances in public it encroaches upon and second-guesses what essentially ought to be a political decision. It is something that can only bring harm in the long-run, and needs to be clamped down by the political establishment, no matter how badly we feel let down by them and no matter what their role has been in bringing things to such a sorry state.
(2) ‘It is beyond belief…’. – While most of us aware of all the fixing and looting, someone walking into an army chief’s room and offering a bribe is something that i still find surreal. Imagine the dialogue that would have gone on! No Bollywood scriptwriter can improve on it.

Santosh John Samuel, Kochi
45/D-120
Mar 30, 2012
01:33 PM

Whatever,

Hilarious post! white, yellow, blue, and pink copies!

Amit, Tucson
44/D-119
Mar 30, 2012
01:31 PM

While we are at it, could someone confirm if we really have the nuclear "bums" or was that an elaborate hoax too?? I am inclined to believe that they just gathered in the desert, exploded a few diwali crackers and announced that we had the "bum" at last!

Apparently, Pakistanis are full of glee at our sorry plight. They should feel sorry for themselves. Without firing a single shot (we don't have one), we made them buy expensive arms and ammunition. That's so not cool.

Amit, Tucson
43/D-108
Mar 30, 2012
12:45 PM

 @ Santosh Samuel

"What good came out of an army chief getting in touch with the public directly? Should serving army men be giving interviews of this nature to the media? No answers."

Well, you and I are sleeping peacefully with the notion that our borders are being protected by our able and well-equipped armed forces. The truth appears to be that we have tanks with no ammunition, special forces that do not have the right equipment, fighter planes dropping out of the sky etc etc. unfortunately, this is not a situation where "what you dont know, will not hurt you" does not apply. It was absolutely right for this entire sordid episode to come out into public domain so that people can ask where our billion dollar defence spendings are going.


"Why did the general not give the complaint in writing?"


Agree on this. The chief should have given a written complaint - in quadruplicate. White copy to the minister, yellow copy for the minister to stamp acknowledgment that he received the white copy, blue copy for army records and pink copy for his personal confidential files. Procedures must be followed.

"Why did his boss (Antony) not pursue the matter further and insist on a written complaint?"

As mentioned above, procedures must be followed. so antony was waiting for white and yellow copies.


"It is beyond belief that someone could walk into the room of a serving chief of army and offer a bribe, unless having complete confidence that he can get away or unless it is common knowledge (in such circles) that there are prior instances of this having happened. Any which way a scary thought. No answers."


Really?? Beyond belief?? After all the "coalition compulsions" related excuses being dished out, you find it beyond belief? Ministers/ministries are being fixed, coffers are being looted, lands are being encroached.... and you find this beyond belief??


"And finally the leaked letter. Who did it? From all accounts it seems that the army was not responsible for this leak. A confidential letter from the chief to the PM in public domain! A field day for the media and politicians. From calling for the chief’s sacking (narrated as casually as asking someone to buy groceries from the neighbourhood store) to Vaylar Ravi accusing the chief of being frustrated, our MPs have not shown the necessary seriousness that this issue required."

Probably the politicians thought thay could use the same tactics as they did for Anna Hazare and Ramdev. Discredit the chief. Ascribe motives. They should probably call him a sanghi - now that he has visited Mata Vaishno Devi's temple.

"And the PM and the DM allowing matters to drift to such an extent."

The PM has let a lot of this drift for a long time. we are bound to be in drift mode till the next elections, whenever they may be.


"All pointers to a deep malaise that needs to be addressed judiciously, firmly and urgently."

I once again, agree. But looking at this government, it's just wishful thinking. My nephew, who goes to first grade, addresses issues more firmly and urgently - and judiciously too.

Whatever, Bangalore
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