Over a dozen sitting and former Ministers of the National Conference have asked General (retired) V.K. Singh to name the Ministers of successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir who, according to him, had received the Army’s secret funds even as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah continues to be non-committal on the former Army Chief’s revelations.
A group of 17 incumbent and former Ministers of the NC said in a signed statement on Tuesday: “We have never ever compromised the integrity of the offices we held and have never received any money from the Army as alleged by the General. Hence, V.K. Singh’s generalised remarks are absurd and far from truth. If the former Army Chief doesn’t come out with facts, we will deem his accusations and allegations as defaming us with mala fide and malicious intent and hence we will be compelled to take legal action.”
The statement, according to highly placed NC sources, was issued under the instructions of the Chief Minister.
Abdul Rahim Rather, Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Mir Saifullah and Sakeena Itoo are among the Cabinet Ministers who have signed the statement. Former Ministers Surjit Singh Salathia, Qamar Ali Akhoon, Abdul Gani Malik, Nasir Aslam Wani and Javed Ahmad Dar are also among the signatories.
Sources told The Hindu that the NC brass, including Law Minister Mir Saifullah, were in a discussion with Advocate-General Mohammad Ishaq Qadiri, Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir, and a counsel representing the J & K government in the Supreme Court to assess the possibility of legal action against General Singh.
“We are studying if we could initiate defamation proceedings against Gen. Singh who, of course, has cast a general aspersion on all Ministers and has not mentioned anybody by name. But, it should be a matter of concern for all, including former Chief Ministers Mufti Mohammad Sayeed [PDP] and Ghulam Nabi Azad [Congress], who have functioned as Ministers in J & K,” said a senior NC leader.