Troop Movement may have been cover against sacking, hints Lt Gen Panag

FP

A day after The Indian Express report on unusual movement of troops that rang alarm bells in the government, former Northern Army Commander Lt Gen. H S Panag has suggested that the move to mobilise troops on January 16 could have been linked to fears that Army Chief Gen. V K Singh would be relieved of his charge by the government if he went to court on the age issue.

Lt Gen. Panag is a member of the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal.

"In hindsight, Yes. I maintain that a coup can never take place in India but a compromised hierarchy can do such ops," tweeted the retired Army Commander, who was famously posted out of the Northern Command in 2008 on the insistence of the then Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor after he initiated an anti-corruption probe.

In a detailed "assessment of a military mind based on reported information in the press", Panag has hinted that the movement of two units to the outskirts of Delhi on the day that Gen Singh moved court was to pre-empt any move to sack him. The officer described the move of a mechanised unit towards New Delhi as "a pre-emptive demonstration with a Cover Plan to pre-empt likely impending decision".

The cover plan was a reference to the exercise while the "impending decision" a possible move by the government to sack Gen Singh.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, the retired officer took on questions on the matter and hinted that participating troops were not in the loop and the plan was known only to three Lt General and General level officers. "The tps (troops) did not know the real intent" he said in reply to one question, adding that "In this situation no (local commanders were not in the loop). Cover plan of routine trg (training). In my view only three 3 Star/+ knew".

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