Money paid to J&K politicians was for creating goodwill: V K Singh
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A day after he kicked up a political storm by claiming that all ministers in J&K have been given money by the Army since Independence, former Army chief V K Singh went in damage control mode, saying the money paid were not bribes but aimed at creating goodwill in the state.
"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," the retired officer has been quoted as saying by PTI at a select press conference Tuesday.
Singh, who spoke out after his remarks on paying ministers in the state drew sharp reactions from across party lines, said the money was transferred to 'wean' people away from militancy. "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)," Singh, who addressed the select meet at his residence in Gurgaon, said.
Sadbhavna is the name given to an Army project in Jammu and Kashmir that looks after the welfare of people and executes tasks like constructing schools, water dams and conducting national tours for schoolchildren. However, as is the norm, funds under Sadbhavna are directly utilised by Army units and formations.
While the former Army chief refused to take names of political persons who had been paid money, he also claimed at the press interaction that such activities are carried out by the Army in many other areas too and is not limited to J&K.
As reported by The Indian Express, a secret Army report has said a shadowy Military Intelligence Unit set up by Singh, named Technical Support Division (TSD), had paid a minister in J&K to destabilise the government.