Phone tapping case against VK Singh; probe ordered
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Last Updated: Monday, March 05, 2012, 22:12
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 secret".

"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."


First Published: Monday, March 05, 2012, 20:52

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