SEARCH

News » National

Updated: March 30, 2012 01:14 IST

Antony orders IB probe

Smita Gupta
Comment (42)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Defence Minister A.K. Antony after inaugurating the 7th International Land and Naval Defence Systems Exhibition at Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi, on Thursday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
Defence Minister A.K. Antony after inaugurating the 7th International Land and Naval Defence Systems Exhibition at Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi, on Thursday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Army Chief terms leakage of letter ‘high treason’

In a bid to scotch rumours on the fate of embattled Army Chief General V.K. Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Thursday told journalists, “All the three service chiefs enjoy the confidence of the government.”

On a day Delhi is hosting the BRICS conference, the government's top concern was not just to trace who had leaked Gen. Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, government sources told The Hindu, but, if possible, push the battle between the General and the government playing out on TV channels to the sidelines. Indeed, an advisory has gone out to all channels underscoring the need not to overplay the contents of a sensitive confidential letter that spoke of India's lack of defence preparedness.

Mr. Antony's comment came shortly after the Army Headquarters released a brief, strongly worded statement from Gen. Singh, currently in Jammu and Kashmir.

Describing his letter to the Prime Minister a “privileged” communication, and its leakage “high treason,” he said the cynical approach to “tarnish” his reputation should stop, and the sources of the leak “should be found and dealt with ruthlessly.”

With the Minister announcing that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had been asked to investigate as to who leaked the letter, an act he labelled “anti-national activity” meriting “the maximum punishment under the Indian Penal Code,” all eyes are now on how the government will proceed on the matter.

The government sources said the top leadership would meet to discuss the issue after the BRICS conference ends on Friday, but clearly no action, one way or the other, can be taken till the IB can nail the culprits behind the leakage.

Measured comments

While Mr. Antony's measured comments on Thursday were reflective of the government's position on the General, the Congress' position, articulated by spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury, held out a veiled threat:

“The country is being visited by leaders, including those from our neighbouring country. There should be restraint,” she said, concluding with, “Our patience should not be viewed as our weakness.”

More In: National | News

One point I do not understand is, this guy Antony whom he calls
himself a 'minister of defense' is actually angry because the Army
Chief suggested a feedback or suggestion or an improvement?
I don not understand how these guys are living with their selves.
No wonder why educated people are leaving abroad.

from:  Somesh Kurella
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 13:40 IST

Hi! What is the wrong in calling a spade a spade? COAS-Chief of Army Staff with right intention had written a letter to PMO office which was subsequently leaked by_______just like other leaks to tarnish the image of COAS. However, the case backfired when COAS wrote back for a thorough investigation on the leak (this itself shows that COAS had nothing with the leak). But, the point we are missing here is not the leak but WHY ARE WE UNDERPREPARED AND OBSELETE WITH OUR ARMS????? Who is not doing their duty?? What is happening to the defense allocation? Why still middlemen/agents are meddling with contracts/commissions when this was abolished in 2006???? As an ordinary citizen, I am furious with the system and the way we are.

from:  Bala
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 13:00 IST

Yeah! Rather than doing something for the arms and ammunition for which the letter was written and which leads to our National Security, go on and do all the unwanted works like probing the Army Chief Wrong. I hope and quite certain that the problems of the Army would have been already communicated with the Defense Ministry and the Defense Secretory earlier also and since no action was taken for fulfilling the Army's demand for the said Arms and ammunition, the Army chief had been compelled to write to the PM from where the letter is leaked as all other letters been leaked from the PMO only. I feel that rather than sacking Army chief for telling the truth about the condition of the Army, the Govt should sack itself and call for an early election so that the peoples of India should decide to put the right leaders for the cabinet posts of GOI.

from:  Manish Sharma
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 11:17 IST

Under this government or misgoverning department evrthing leaks out.Leakage of wealth, resources(minerals etc),our country's fame, harwork done by so many citizens, secrets,water-everthing leaks out!!What else is remaining?Only GOD save this country from such politicians!

from:  subbu
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 10:22 IST

Is this even of importance that "who leaked the letter" when it is certain that the defences of the country are weak and unprepared. Rather than setting up hunt for the letter, the government should focus on preparedness of the forces and give a credible account of it to the nation.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 10:01 IST

Our leaders should show some patriotism in not blaming the middlemen involved in all deals, who know all secrets while the government posing to keep all info under the veil of secrecy!

from:  Atis
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 09:50 IST

The contents of the letter are vital.Such information should not have
been given through routine channels. Gen.should have handed over them in
person during farewell meeting.Heavens would not have fallen till then.

Certainly the timing of the leak is

from:  MAHENDRA GAUR
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 09:32 IST

Let the Defence Ministert A.K. Antony who is still unequivocally boasting the government’s buoyancy on all three services chiefs create a very conducive atmosphere for CBI to investigate into the episode of Army Chief’s leaked letter without any bias or favour.

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri.Chennai
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 09:26 IST

Accepted that the leak itself is a matter to be investigated, but is
anybody going to probe what actions the P.M. has taken on such alarming
issues raised by the General through this leaked letter? And if P.M. has
not taken any solid steps to strengthen the weaknesses of the army is he
not on fault?

from:  Kunal Singh
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 09:23 IST

This is entirely different ,not the government owning the people's confidence. See
it is a matter of the leakage of a classified document. The Prime Minister and the
Army Chief own responsibility. All our intelligence should put together to arrest
the culprit and sack him .Is it not the duty of the media to restrain itself from
publishing such things which affects the entire prestige of our nation as a whole.
Democracy does not mean to collapse democracy itself. All the political parties
should stand as one at this stage to keep the country's prestige.

from:  m.sankaralingam
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 08:05 IST

This is entirely different ,not the government owning the people's confidence. See
it is a matter of the leakage of a classified document. The Prime Minister and the
Army Chief own responsibility. All our intelligence should put together to arrest
the culprit and sack him .Is it not the duty of the media to restrain itself from
publishing such things which affects the entire prestige of our nation as a whole.
Democracy does not mean to collapse democracy itself. All the political parties
should stand as one at this stage to keep the country's prestige.

from:  m.sankaralingam
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 08:05 IST

The efforts to tarnish the long earned reputation of the Army chief
should stop forthwith.His efforts to sack corrupted top brasses is an
outcome of his efforts to weed off corruption in the army.One must
accept that this was one of the Generals KRA when he took over as
chief.He has seen enough and we know for sure his age row has nothing to
do with the army as a whole.that was his personal appeal.

from:  chand
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 08:00 IST

Media should be held responsible for this antinational activity

from:  sajeev
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 07:01 IST

One had 2 dates of birth - 1950 1951. It was not contested during
the course of the service. In Govt. service & PSUs , all other
criteria being equal - promotion depends strictly on seniority in
age. At the fag end of the career the person wants to change the
date of birth after getting benefits based on the earlier date.
Honesty and integrity is not like Gold - 22 K or 20 K or 16 K. There
is no such thing as 99 or 95 or 90 % honest. One is either honest or
not. Simple. Not like an retired admiral in a channel saying
everything can not seen as black and white there can be shaed of
grey too.

from:  RGKishnan
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 06:45 IST

UPA2 has lost mandate to rule.It has to own the responsibility for this mess.BJP and CPM have shown more maturity during Parliament discussion.People have a right to know the real situation. The leadership has to rise above Party politics and solve the problem of corruption. India needs a good governance and strong defence system to command respect in the Region.We have a huge population who have not got their share and who are still suffering after 65 years of Independence.Last chance for the country to wake up.

from:  Narayanan Krishnan
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 06:11 IST

Its essential to find out how the leakage of such news come out and
how to stop it is more important.
secondly, our senior govt officers acts only nearer to their
retirement about govt failures. they must understand that they are
employed for the benefit of people of nation and not to dance to the
tune of politicians till their retirement and then at the time of
retirement complaining that they are pained .
this shows what it is needed to be corrected. i wish our PM will
stand upright and get corrected at least now.

from:  narayanan
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 04:28 IST

Is the person who leaked the letter is a traitor? The answer is NO. On the contrary, he served the nation well. Has he violated the law? The answer is YES. Should he go to jail? The answer is again yes and that is the price one would pay for displaying the dirty laundry of the government for public view. The contents of the letter are most likely known to everyone other than the general public. No harm is done to the nation. May have prevented the repeat of 1961 results and saved the lives of many brave soldiers and humiliation of the nation.

from:  KVR
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 03:47 IST

The government and the political parties must do the needful to reduce the gap in the defense. Instead of making a very fast decision and acting fast the political parties are playing politics. If India is attacked big leaders can hide in the underground shelters. It is the commons who are going to suffer. Stop playing politics and rebuild defense

from:  Prasanth
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 01:53 IST

It is high time to dismiss General V. K. Singh instead of waiting for his retirement. One never knows what that hideous man may be upto next. When Harry Truman dismissed Gen. MaCarthur, his secretary of state suggested perhaps he should be given a chance to resign. Truman retorted "No sir, he will not be given chance to resign; he has crossed a line". Compared to Gen. MaCarthur, V. K. Singh stands nowhere but in last few months he shown ample indiscipline that needs to be dealt with outright sack. Vajapayee did not have any compunctions in dismissing Admiral Bhagat then why present government hesistate unless it is spineless.

from:  Rajiv
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 01:07 IST

Let this democracy go to hell where all bloody politicians are corrupt.
Let the co-lateral damage happen. I wish all the three generals unite
and teach a lesson to these politicians. How many more scams we will
witness. Where a soldier opens his mouth he is made quiet like IPS
officer killed and General Singh.

from:  Debjyoti
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 00:58 IST

How long shall honest ministers cut off from the team work enjoy
confidence of voters ?

from:  Rakesh Manchanda
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 00:49 IST

This is absolutely amazing. This government instead of looking to save
face in front of the public is looking for offenders who leaked the
letter. Probably they have no choice but to show a brave-face when scams
after scams are tumbling down the cupboard.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 00:05 IST

Mr. A.K. Anthony, you are completely wrong in terming General VK Singh as anti-national for just doing his aggressively nationalistic & uncompromisingly patriotic duty of keeping India’s PM Dr. Manmohan Singh & the Indian nation informed about inefficiencies, inadequacies & enormous deficiencies in the preparedness o of Indian armed forces in defending the country against enemy forces: India’ s air defense is more than 95 % outdated & as such its defense does not give confidence about its ability to protect Indian soldiers on the ground, on the water or in the air; army’s entire tank fleet is without critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks; infantry is lacking with crew served weapons & is deficient in night fighting abilities; elite special forces are almost devoid of essential weapons & critical surveillance is afflicted with large-scale voids. Are you aware that Japan was nuclear bombed by the USA on its Hiroshima & Nagasaki & has suffered incalculable human & property losses.

from:  Suresh BV Bharadwaj
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 23:56 IST

It is high time to dismiss General V. K. Singh instead of waiting for his retirement. One never knows what that hideous man may be upto next. When Harry Truman dismissed Gen. MaCarthur, his secretary of state suggested perhaps he should be given a chance to resign. Truman retorted "No sir, he will not be given chance to resign; he has crossed a line". Compared to Gen. MaCarthur, V. K. Singh stands nowhere but in last few months he shown ample indiscipline that needs to be dealt with outright sack. Vajapayee did not have any compunctions in dismissing Admiral Bhagat then why present government hesitate unless it is spineless.

from:  Rajiv Kumar
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 23:53 IST

Lack of integrity and commitment of sincerety towards country's welfare
among the top ranking political leaders and the senior bureaucrats are
the root cause for such disturbed conditions in the country.The
President Of India should intervene and put the country in the proper
track, come what may! to save this nation.

from:  K.Devaraj
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 23:41 IST

No Patriotic Indian can indulge in Leaking letter? But there are
patriotic Politicians who can sale the country, risk the countries
security by buying second grade weapons and that too at very high
cost.These are our patriotic bureaucrats and politicians hats on to
them?

from:  Rajender
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 23:19 IST

Unfortunately, in the present India, there is no respect for law and order, fairness or justice. Majority might throttles those who do not draw the line. Poor Gen. Singh

from:  Chandran
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 23:16 IST

Unfortunately, in the present India, there is no respect for law and order, fairness or justice. Majority might throttles those who do not draw the line. Poor Gen. Singh

from:  Chandran
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 23:16 IST

As per person from Kerala, who have been watching Mr. A. K. Antony, I always had great respect and was proud of him. However, the recent incidents clearly show that he is also turning as one among the pack. If the Army Chief verbally reported to him about the bribe, the A. K. Antony we knew, did not need anything more to order a clean and transparent investigation then and there. He could have remembered that he also had commitment to the country and its people too. Its sad to hear that he did not take action because the Army Chief did not press for it. The only politician I felt is beyond the doubt of corruption in India, may not be so any longer.

Its again a sad state of the country when Army Chief writes to PM that 97% of the defence assets are of new use when it comes to protecting the country. And he seems to have not taken not of it. Now its in public domain, all the politician wants the blood of the person who told that the king is naked. All the dirt needs to be cleared. Who?

from:  Vinay Nair
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 22:01 IST

It is almost impossibly that the COAS leaked the letter. It invites court martial.
It would appear that the political parties circus jumped the gun in blaming the General without investigation and asking for his immediate removal. This is mind blowingly reckless and the MPs who made such statements need to be disciplined and a parliamentary apology tendered to the nation, military and COAS.
On the other hand, the letter contained no information which was not already published in public domain. However the act of conscious breach must be dealth with. COAS has nothing to gain as the blame game showed.
Mr. Antony's office was rumored to be bugged after a sweep by army intelligence under COAS. In blaming Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh, the army intelligence should be in the know. Mr. Antony's has continued to show confidence in army's intelligence for keeping his office bug proof. Was any action taken against Tejinder Singh despit his bravado?
Mr. Antony's hands seem bound and tied.

from:  Dr. Ajay
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 21:21 IST

The statement of the Army Chief on the leakage of his letter written to the Prime Minister as an act of treason and should be treated ruthlessly proves as also his request for thorough enquiry into the episode show that the Army Chief has no hand in it and it also indicates the vulnerability of documents even at the highest level of governance.Corruption is deep rooted and the mind of the people is agitating against the system.The Army chief deserves all commendation for his act of bold dealings.Ghanshyam N. Singh

from:  Professor Ghanshyam N. Singh
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 20:36 IST

The nation is safe in the hands of congress as a party.There may be
shortcomings in the leadership of the Grand Old Party of India.A major
shake up here and there will do the trick.It is for the leadership at
the party as well as government level to act now decisively.

from:  manoharan
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 20:28 IST

But the Govt. do not enjoy the confidence of Common Man, besides the MILITARY.

from:  Gopu
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 20:09 IST

May be true. But the fact is, no one trusts cabinet ministers.

from:  MSN
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 19:54 IST

Mr. A.K Antony’s assertion that those responsible for the leak of
Army Chief’s letter to the PM will be duly traced and punished
severely as per law is akin to locking the stable doors after the
horse has bolted since immense damage to the reputation of our Army
has already occurred with the details of its under preparedness having
got totally exposed in to the public domain.
While one can continue to appreciate Mr. A.K Antony’s impeccable
record of honesty and integrity, one can’t but criticize his handling
of the issues that the current Army Chief, Gen V.K. Singh has
apparently raised with him during the last year and a half. He has
not only dragged his feet but has been sloppy in his handling of
these crucial and sensitive matters that affect the very core of our
Army’s Public Image as well as its battle –worthiness.
As far as Army Chief Gen V. K. Singh’s recent revelations and actions
are concerned his motives are suspect & have damaged the Army more
than the Govt.

from:  Shahabuddin Nadeem
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 19:29 IST

Lets bring them before the law. You earn my respect Mr. Defense minister
you are calm and your thoughts are strategic rather than tactical. You
are not like many who would say anything before media to win, even
though you could have won by your arguments, for our country you
sacrificed your personal victory. You make a difference.. thank you Mr.
Defense Minister.. People like you are still upholding the sacrifices of
the service men like my father .. Jai Hind.

from:  bansi
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 19:00 IST

This is another example to show that this UPA government is just a pathetic set of losers. They cannot seem to get anything right. And as usual, our prime minister is quiet. He hears no evil, speaks no evil and does not see evil, except that he condones and encourages other people to do evil. Other than this, he does nothing.

from:  Atul
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 18:57 IST

It is a known fact that it is not the machine that matters but man behind matters 65 ,71, kargil has proved it. It'd be better instead of commenting about the quality and quantity , people on the top allot time and energy to build people of impeccable character , dedication and bravery.

from:  srinivasan
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 18:52 IST

But government not owning the people's confidence anymore.This government has doomed our country.

from:  trilochan
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 18:38 IST

The Govt needs to find out and atake appropriate action against the the person(s) resposible for the leakage of the letter from the Army Chief to the PM. That said, the release of the letter brings to the attention of the public the dismal state of affairs in the procurement of needed defense supplies/equipment. The politicians and the bureaucrats have dragged their feet on issues of vital security. For instance, it took years before a trainer aircraft for the airforce. The Army is yet to get a replacement for the Bofors gun purchased decades ago. Perhaps, the release of the letter will spur the Govt to speed up the procurement process for the military. It is better that the state of affairs is known now than in the battlefield.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 18:06 IST

We have two cool ministers in the center namely Mr.Manmohansingh and Mr.A.K Antony.

from:  kirubakaran
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 18:02 IST

A.K. Antony has not wasted his five decades in politics. His statement proves that. He has acquitted himself well in the continuing saga of Gen V.K. Singh. Every one knows that Gen Singh has been itching for a fight with the government starting with his date of birth row. On all those matters Antony raised himself to a statesman from a politician. Still, some larger questions are to be answered. The general simply did not act like an army chief. But the questions he has raised are important and urgent. Antony has realized that there is a risk in denying that there are gaps in defense preparedness and that is what the general's weapon is. Vidya Subramaniam of the Bofors fame of The Hindu who interviewed the general could have ferreted out political agenda if any in the whole affair. Perhaps it is not time to disclose it or it has to play itself out like in the Bofors case. Or a Nevelle Maxwell has to reveal under currents and influences in the army.

from:  k.r. surendran
Posted on: Mar 29, 2012 at 17:41 IST
Show all comments
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World

In the 16th Lok Sabha Election 2014, West Bengal has witnessed some interesting trends. Apart from the debacle of the Left and the ascendance of the Trinamool Congress (AITC), the other somewhat s... »

International

Tamil Nadu

Andhra Pradesh

Karnataka

Kerala


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in National

Delegates at a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. File photo

India votes in support of UNHRC resolution on Gaza

India along with BRICS countries on Wednesday voted in support of a UN Human Rights Council resolution to launch a probe into Israel’s o... »