Phone tapping case against VK Singh; probe ordered

Defence Ministry has launched a probe into a complaint which claimed that the Army chief had deployed interceptors for listening to important phone conversations.

New Delhi: Defence Ministry has launched a
probe into a complaint which claimed that the Army chief had
deployed interceptors for clandestinely listening to important
phone conversations, an allegation rejected by Gen VK Singh
as "fiction".

An anonymous detailed complaint in a letter received by
the Defence Ministry early last week lists several allegations
against the Army chief, including possible misuse of
off-the-air interceptors to listen in on phone conversations
in the national capital.

After receiving the letter, the Ministry has launched a
probe to verify the allegations, Defence Ministry sources told
PTI here on Monday.

The letter was received in an envelope which has an
address on it and that is also being verified, they said.

Reacting sharply to the complaint, Gen Singh dismissed
it as "fiction" and hit out at the media.

"Fiction does not require any reaction. If people
concoct stories and some of the irresponsible editors allow
those stories to get published, I don`t think it requires any
reaction," he told reporters in Hyderabad on the sidelines of
a book release function.

The unsigned letter lists several allegations against
the Army Chief including the possible misuse of off-the-air
interceptors to listen into phone conversations in Delhi
between key people to track developments in the Government on
his age row case in the Supreme Court.

It also accuses Gen Singh of appointing several officers
belonging to the Rajput Regiment to many important posts in
the Service.

Asked about his letter to the Defence Ministry over
shortage of ammunition in the Army, Gen Singh said he had
apprised the ministry about the status of various inventories.

"The Raksha Rajya Mantri is aware. Our efforts in the
last two years have been to ensure that the operational
preparedness of the Army improves. In that there are a large
number of measures. Periodically, we have been apprising the
ministry as to how things are going, what are the shortages
and what action needs to be done," he said.

Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju was by Gen
Singh`s side when the General talked to the media.

Nair said the entire scientific and legal community has
expressed the view that the action against them was "illegal".

"Naturally subsequent steps should be to annul the (ban)
order which (however) is not happening and I don`t know why
it`s taking so much time.

"I have to fight it out. It`s not only for my honour but
it`s the honour of entire scientific community. I have to
fight it out till the last bit," he said.

Nair said "some strong pressure from some quarters" was
responsible for annulment of the Antrix-Devas deal.

After December 2009, there was no transparent reviews and
no internal discussions vis-a-vis the deal and "every thing
was kept under the carpet and many of the information was kept

"Still they were taking drastic measures to cancel the
contract which was about to mature. So, this can only happen
if there is some strong pressure from some quarters".

He said DoS` argument that the deal was cancelled because
of procedural violations and also that S-band resources were
needed for defence applications was "outright bluff".

"A series of bluffs and finally a decision is taken to
cancel the contract," Nair said. "There are indications of
some foul play from some quarters".

By cancelling the contract, India lost a golden
opportunity, he said.

"Just like DTH revolution that we brought in, we would
have brought in hand-held (mobile) revolutions using satellites (had the deal been implemented). That`s a big loss
to the country, technically."