JK Assembly to Summon Gen Singh

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SRINAGAR–  The Speaker of J&K Assembly Wednesday said he would summon former Indian Army chief Gen.(Rtd) V.K Singh to explain allegations that the army’s secret funds were used to pay state ministers since 1947.

The Speaker Mubarak Gul gave his ruling on the  Privilege Motion moved by the National Conference on the revelations made by the former Chief of the Army Staff. 

“General (Retd) V.K. Singh will be summoned for his comments and clarifications on his remarks”, he said adding, “I have decided to write a letter to the former army chief to explain his position.”

Speaker said: He would give the former army chief a month’s time to appear before the assembly. 

“If I have to convene a special session for Gen. V.K Singh to appear before the assembly, I will do it,” the Speaker said.

He apprised the House about the actions already initiated on the issue, adding that the Resolution unanimously passed by the House regarding the conduct of inquiry in the matter has also been sent to the Central Government. He further said that the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has also written a letter to the Prime Minister for holding an inquiry on the issue.

Earlier the members of the ruling National Conference and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party created a ruckus in the assembly when the speaker refused to spell out the time-frame for summoning Gen Singh, saying the proper procedure will be followed.

“I will summon him (Singh) very soon,” Gul said amidst uproar in the assembly, which saw opposition PDP storming the well of the House and demanding the speaker set a time-frame for it.

The BJP and Panthers Party members also rushed to the well of the House urging the speaker not to change his earlier ruling in which he had said that he will write a letter to Gen Singh seeking an explanation from him.

The ruckus began when National Conference member and law minister Mir Saiffullah, supported by PDP members, demanded that Gen Singh be summoned to the house instead of writing a letter to him for seeking an explanation.

This prompted the opposition PDP members to storm the well of the House after which the speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes. As soon as the House re-assembled, pandemonium continued for another 15 minutes before the speaker adjourned the House for a second time for 20 minutes.

As the proceedings resumed, the speaker called for tabling of bills and other listed business before the House but PDP members again stormed the well. Amidst the din, the House approved extension of time for presenting reports of various select committees till the end of the next session.

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti suggested that the House take a vote on whether to summon the former Army chief or seek an explanation from him through a letter. Gul said there was no need for voting on the issue. The PDP members, however, pressed that the speaker set a period of one month for summoning VK Singh.

The MLAs of PDP, BJP and NPP shouted slogans in the well of the House leading to adjournment of the assembly sine die by the speaker.

“I may do it even before that. Any communication from the speaker is a summon,” Gul said in response to PDP members asking him to summon Gen Singh within a period of one month.

The speaker said he will call a special session of the assembly if need arises.

Gul said the resolution passed by the assembly on Monday has already been sent to the Centre, while chief minister Omar Abdullah has also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The assembly passed a unanimous resolution demanding a credible probe into the allegations made by Gen Singh.

The retired army chief had stirred a controversy by making allegations that ministers in Jammu and Kashmir had been receiving secret funds from the army since 1947.

On Monday the House had unanimously adopted a resolution asking government of India to conduct an inquiry into the allegations in a transparent manner. On the same day, Omar Abdullah, the Chief Minister had in his address told the House: “If money was given, then he (V K Singh) must mention that to whom was it given and the purpose for which it was given. I request the government of India not to dismiss these allegations. We will not jump to conclusions but probe the matter and don’t dismiss these serious allegations.”

Omar had also shared contents of his letter written to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on September 25, demanding a thorough probe into the issue in order to restore the credibility of political mainstream of the state.

A report carried by Indian Express two weeks back had claimed that V K Singh set up Technical Service Division (TSD) a special unit in the Army intelligence which tried to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government. The issue not only created hue and cry in the political mainstream but remained a hot issue during the entire autumn session of Legislative Assembly and the Council that concluded today.

Misusing secret service funds to de-stabilize Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s government in Jammu and Kashmir by giving Rs 1. 19 Crores to agriculture minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, paying off an NGO to try change the line of succession in the Army top brass, buying off-air interception equipment, to conduct “unauthorized” covert operations, are among some of the charges against Singh, the national daily had reported.

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