New Delhi: Information on the activities of the controversial Technical Support Division (TSD), an intelligence unit set up by former army chief VK Singh, is still out of bounds for the public.
The Defence Ministry has declined to share information related to functioning of TSD that had created a major political storm after General Singh had claimed that army had regularly paid money to ministers and politicians in Jammu and Kashmir. He had come under attack from various sections on his statements.
"In so far as your request for supply of order regarding setting up of `TSD` and enquiry etc., are concerned, it is regretted that the same cannot be supplied in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act," the Ministry said in reply to an RTI query.
The Section bars disclosure of information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.
The Defence Ministry was asked to give a copy of the order and file notings regarding setting up of TSD. It was also asked to provide detail of complaints of irregularities received against the snoop unit.
The TSD has been accused of carrying out unauthorised operations and financial wrongdoings. It has also been accused of illegally carrying out activities for destabilising the Jammu and Kashmir government.
General Singh, who had denied the charges levelled against him and the unit, has also filed an RTI application seeking information on TSD.
An Army report about the TSD, which was also accused of illegally tapping phones of senior Defence Ministry officials, has been submitted to the Defence Ministry and a probe has been recommended against its functioning.
The report was prepared by Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, as part of a Board of Officers (BOO) formed by Gen Bikram Singh to review the working of TSD.
The TSD was reportedly formed after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks on the basis of an operational directive given to the Army by the Defence Minister to perform a particular task to secure the borders and internal situation in the country. It is now defunct.