Assembly Issues Notice To Former Army Chief

SRINAGAR: Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly today issued a notice to former Army Chief Gen V K Singh asking him to explain his position within 20 days on his allegation of pay-off to ministers in the state.

"...He (Singh) has been asked to explain his position regarding certain revelations made by him during the course of an interview to a Delhi-based news channel on September 23," an Assembly spokesperson said.

He said the notice has been issued in response to a privilege motion moved against him by 15 ministers and MLAs.

In its recently concluded Autumn session the Assembly had passed a one-line resolution against the former general, under fire for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Omar Abdullah's government when he was in service.

Gen Singh has been given 20 days to explain his position in the matter so that further course of action could be decided under the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the J&K Assembly, the spokesperson said.

Though the notice has not sought his personal appearance, as was vehemently demanded by the legislators, cutting across party lines, sources said that any further action against the retired general will be taken only after he replies to the notice.

Law minister, Mir Saifullah told a local news agency KNS that if the notice seeking explanation is not replied within the stipulated time period, a warrant against the former army chief shall be issued.

Ruling National Conference ministers and MLAs had moved the motion against the former Army chief for alleging that some ministers in Jammu and Kashmir were paid money to get certain jobs done since Independence.

Gen Singh had made the allegation while commenting on a report in a New Delhi newspaper, which had claimed that Technical Services Division, an intelligence unit of the Army created during his tenure, had paid Rs 1.19 crore to state minister Ghulam Hassan Mir allegedly to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government in 2010.

Gen Singh later denied the allegations of plotting to overthrow Omar government, but told a Delhi-based news channel that the Army paying Kashmir minister "was nothing new" and had been happening since India's independence.

"Army transfers money to all the ministers in Jammu & 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," he told Times Now.

Gen Singh said the jobs involve "bringing stability to a particular area".

"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?"

While Mir denied any wrong doing Omar Abdullah reacted sharply saying the general had tarnished the image of pro-India political parties. He also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a credible probe into the allegation for restoring faith of people in mainstream politicians in the state. 

Meanwhile, party sources close to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday revealed that the Government of India has still not responded to the letter sent by Omar on September 25th to the Prime Minster. “The Chief Minster’s office has not yet received any answer from the PMO,” they said.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Naeem Akhtar told KNS that this vindicates their stand that New Delhi has two standards, one for the state of Jammu and Kashmir and another for other states. 

Akhtar further stated that the Government of India should have taken the cognizance of Gen Singh’s remarks itself. “When have they (GoI) responded to the concerns of the state government; it is not only the question of Chief Minister’s letter,” said Akhtar  adding that the GoI should not undermine the resolutions passed by the state assembly about retired Gen. Singh.

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