In a recent Facebook post, General VK Singh shed light on the details of the complaint he made to the Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 13 November 2013, against the journalists and officers who actively participated in perpetuating the rumors of an impending coup in 2012.
In the post, General Singh slapped charges like abetting mutiny (Section 131 IPC), promoting enmity between different groups (Section 153A-IPC), imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration (Section 153B-IPC), abetment and criminal conspiracy (Sections 107, 109, 110, 117, 120A, 120B-IPC), acting in a manner prejudicial to the defense of India and the security of the State (Sections 3 (1) and (2) of the National Security Act 1980) and being in possession or control of any secret document or information [Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (as amended)], against those officials and journalists.
In the post, General Singh mentioned the names of all the accused including Shekhar Gupta, the then Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express, Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta of the Indian Express, Sandeep Unnithan, the then Deputy Editor of India Today, Siddharth Varadarajan, former Editor of The Hindu, Chander Suta Dogra the then Chandigarh Bureau Chief of The Hindu, and Lt. Gen (Retd.) Tejinder Singh.
Moreover, accusing General VK Singh of treason, the report by the Indian Express claimed that two “sizeable army units” had moved towards Raisina Hills in January 2012. The story further claimed, “Lookouts confirmed the movement of what looked like a sizeable unit. It was soon identified as an entire unit of Mechanised Infantry, with its Russian-made Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), carried on 48 tank transporters. The movement was towards the capital, which was odd.”
As per the story, there was an additional unit involved in this ‘attempted coup’. “This unit was identified as a large element of the airborne 50 Para Brigade based at Agra”, said the report. The story claimed that remedial steps were taken to ‘slowdown the troop movement including ‘deliberately causing traffic jam on national highways leading to Delhi.’ The report further made the claim that the Defense Secretary was asked to cut short his foreign visit in the wake of ‘coup’.
In his response, Union Minister stated, “This is a clear case of suggesting, instigating and abetting the commitment of mutiny by officers and soldiers of the Army that attracts Section 133 of IPC”. He mentions in the post that Shekhar Gupta, Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta of the Indian Express are liable to be charged under Section 133. “Having acted in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and the security of the State and therefore attracting Sections 3 (1) and (2) of the National Security Act 1980 they should be detained under NSA forthwith,” added Minister of State (MoS).
General VK Singh added in his post, “Picking up from the Indian Express leaked report on TSD, on 24 September 2013 ‘The Hindu’ published a news story titled ‘V.K. Singh counters charges, admits ‘pro-India NGOs’ were funded”. The report appeared to be a deliberate attempt of promoting enmity between people of India, officers, and soldiers of the Indian Army serving in Jammu & Kashmir and the people of that state and cause disturbance to harmony and national integrity.
The report also claimed that the panchayat elections of 2011 was a major achievement of the TSD, a statement that General Singh never made. “This was a clever ‘cut and paste’ based on ‘news’ planted by some of my adversaries who have been leaking the top-secret TSD and other stories” said Singh adding Siddharth Varadarajan should be accused for this as he published this lie “without verification and cross-checking from me”.
In his post, General VK Singh requested the PMO to take immediate action and urged concerned authorities to register appropriate FIRs and commence an investigation in the issue.