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Army chief blames 'rogue elements' for creating wedge

Delhi,Defence/Security,Politics, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 IANS

New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) Sounding a conciliatory note over the controversies relating to him, Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh Friday blamed 'rogue elements' for trying to create a wedge between him and the government.


His remarks come a day after he sought to clarify that he was not instrumental in getting a 'top secret' letter he wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on gaps in defence preparedness leaked to the media.



'Rogue elements are trying to create a schism' between him and the government,' Gen. Singh said, a day after he himself called the leaking of his letter 'high treason' and sought strongest action against the culprits.



Defence Minister A.K. Antony too had echoed his views, saying it was 'an anti-national' act and that he had ordered an Intelligence Bureau probe to get to the root of the leakage of the letter.



Antony had, however, said that all the three defence chiefs 'enjoyed the confidence' of the government.



In his latest statement issued to the media, Gen. Singh said: 'The army, and by extension the chief of army staff, are a part of the government.'



He also clarified on raising the issue of graft in the defence deals, because a particular retired lieutenant general, whom he had chided earlier for offering a bribe of Rs.14 crore for clearing a deal for army trucks, had resurfaced earlier in this month.



The army chief had said that he had informed Antony of the bribe offer from the retired officers. Singh suggested that the army had taken 'institutional corrective steps' after he talked to Antony about the bribe offer 'to keep a wary eye' on alleged bribe-givers.



Earlier in the day, Gen. Singh was at the defence exposition, currently in progress in the capital, and went around the stalls of several defence companies. However, he gave the slip to the media and left the venue without interacting with reporters.


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