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Army Chief issues statement denying leak of letter to PM

New Delhi, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar.28 (ANI): Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh on Thursday issued a statement clarifying that he had nothing to do with the leak of the contents of his procurements-related letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the public domain.

He claimed that to accuse him was an outrage and urged that the 'cynical approach' to tar his image should be stopped.

He strongly condemned the disclosure of the contents of the letter and said that the source of the leak should be found out and ruthlessly probed.

Meanwhile, according to defence sources, the Intelligence Bureau has asked for an inquiry into the leakage of General Singh's letter to the Prime Minister.

According to a senior minister, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is upset over the leak, which says that the nation was ill-prepared for a war.

But he does not want to create a precedent of sacking the highest-ranking officer of the Army.

The Centre is unhappy over the series of controversies involving General V.K. Singh, but is unlikely to sack him. The most-favoured option before the government is to ask the General to go on leave till his tenure ends on May 31.

The prime minister held talks with defence minister AK Antony and home minister P Chidambaram on the issue. Antony also held discussions with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon too.

There is, however, the precedence of the NDA government sacking Navy chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat in 1998, but that was after Bhagwat refused to carry out a Cabinet Committee on Appointments order of appointing Vice-Admiral Harinder Singh as the deputy chief of naval staff.

Although Singh's conduct can be considered equally serious, if the government's suspicion that he leaked the letter is true, it cannot be easily proved. Moreover, Congress, which was critical of the NDA government's action does not want to invite a similar criticism as General V.K. Singh has positioned himself as an honest officer who refused a bribe. (ANI)

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