Jaitley slams govt over leak of Army inquiry report

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 21:00

New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday slammed the government over the "leak" of an Army inquiry report on an intelligence unit set up by former Army chief VK Singh and said such covert operations are not admitted or talked about in the larger public interest.

Jaitley asserted that intelligence agencies and the Army have the right to conduct covert operations and these are above the scrutiny of Parliament or the judiciary. He accused the UPA government of deliberately leaking information of covert operations for its "narrow political interest", dealing a "setback" to counter insurgency operations.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha alleged that the government has gone public with these covert operations- be it the activities of the intelligence unit set up by Gen Singh or the Ishrat Jahan encounter case- to score points when faced with certain electoral defeat and has been unmindful of whether this will hurt the country.

"The hard fact is that in a country with serious security threats, the existence of these activities of intelligence agencies has to be strengthened. Intelligence agencies have to conduct various covert operations. And yet there has to be an element of deniability in the covert operations," Jaitley said.

The Opposition leader argued in an article released by the BJP that such activities are not admitted or talked about in the larger public interest.

"My charge against the UPA government is that for narrow political interest it has deliberately leaked out the covert operations in two cases thereby creating a serious setback to our counter insurgency operations," he said.

Referring to the findings of a Board of officials inquiry which reportedly indicts Gen Singh, Jaitley said the CBI cannot invoke its investigative jurisdiction to start investigating whether secret funds have been properly spent by the Intelligence Bureau, the R&AW or the Military Intelligence or by any other agency.

"All these activities are neither accountable to Parliament nor judicially justiciable. These are a part of the covert operations. The desirability and the appropriateness of these activities is a subject matter for the government of the day to decide," Jaitley said.

Jaitley said that Prime Ministers, Home Ministers, Defence Ministers, Chief of the Army staff, heads of IB and R&AW and several others in the government are privy to information which "must necessarily die with them".

"It even cannot become a part of their memoirs. Should such an information have been leaked out by the political establishment which had a problem with the former Army Chief?" he said.

The BJP leader also questioned Gen Singh`s revelations in the
media and wondered if- despite being pushed to a corner- he should have at all have admitted that such payments were indeed undertaken.

"The UPA government has abandoned its state-craft. It does not mind if the country is hurt as long as the UPA can score points when faced with a certain electoral defeat," Jaitley said.

He also referred to the Ishrat Jahan encounter case and said though it was part of the counter terror activities of a central agency, the Centre went public with its details.

"The UPA government needs to seriously introspect whether it acted in national interest when it altered the affidavit of the Home Ministry before the Gujarat High court thereby disowning what its own agencies have allegedly done," Jaitley said.

He charged that the Centre intended to use the "ever obliging CBI" to target police officials and certain BJP leaders of Gujarat.

"However, the hard truth is that it was an operation of the central government and not of the Gujarat government. In the process, all that the central government achieved was to uncover the covert operation of an intelligence agency," Jaitley said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 21:00

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