New Delhi: Union Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday attacked former Army chief VK Singh for his remarks that ministers in Jammu and Kashmir were given money by the Army, saying his statement was "utterly irresponsible" and he had assaulted the dignity of the high office he had held.
"It is most unfortunate and a serious development. A former Army chief soon after retirement is getting restless to become part of the partisan narrative in the country and making statements which actually assault the dignity of the high office that he held.
"One does not expect a chief of the Indian Army to say something which is utterly irresponsible and also undermines the overall environment," he told reporters here.
The minister was asked a question on the statement made by former Army chief that ministers in the trouble-torn state had been paid by the Army since independence.
"Never before a former chief has acted in a manner which has led to controversies, statements, accusations and counter accusations. It is not in the interest of the country, its security and particularly what has been said about the sensitive state of J&K," he said.
After the statements made by Singh on Monday drew sharp reactions from the government and ruling parties in the state, he tried to do some damage control yesterday, saying the money paid to ministers was not a bribe.
"I did not commit any mistake. When I had said some politicians were given money, it was not meant for their personal purpose or political purpose. It was not for lining their pockets or for bribe. If somebody says that any minister was given a bribe, it is totally wrong.
"It was meant solely for stability...To win hearts and minds of people, to wean people away from separatist activities under the overall umbrella of sadbhavna (harmony)," he said.