LC adopts resolution seeking thorough probe

Srinagar, Oct 9: After the Legislative Assembly Monday passed a resolution asking Centre to probe payoff charges leveled by former Army chief Gen V K Singh against JK politicians, the Legislative ...

Srinagar, Oct 9: After the Legislative Assembly Monday passed a resolution asking Centre to probe payoff charges leveled by former Army chief Gen V K Singh against JK politicians, the Legislative Council passed a similar resolution on Thursday, asking the Government of India probe ex-Army chief's explosive accusations.
"This House unanimously resolves that the allegations made by retired Army General V K Singh should be inquired in time-bound and transparent manner by Government of India," the resolution passed by the Upper House reads.
On Monday, the Legislative Assembly had passed a similar resolution. Winding up the discussion over the "explosive revelations" made by Gen Singh, Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather said the allegations have severely dented the credibility of democratic institutions in the State.
"This has given a handle to anti-democratic forces to take on mainstream camp in the state. And now, even general public has started dubbing mainstream politicians as Army operatives," Rather said.  NC leader said the statements of the former Army chief were "inconsistent" and "self-contradictory."
"First the media reports revealed that money was paid to a particular Minister in JK, then VK Singh said that money was being paid to all the ministers and then in the same breath he said that money was paid to some Ministers right from 1947," Rather said.
Rather said the "sweeping" remarks made by VK Singh have cast aspersions on the entire political set-up in the state and created suspicion in the minds of the people against the mainstream camp.
Rather said the remarks have even cast aspersions on electoral processes in Jammu and Kashmir which are being hyped in the international forums as free and fair democratic exercises.
Demanding a thorough probe into the allegations, Rather said the Government of India has to act strongly to address the wider implications that Gen Singh's revelations can have on the future political and democratic process in the state.
He said the Privilege Committee should give serious thought to summoning VK Singh and consult constitutional experts for the same, if the need arises.
"We can issue a Non- Bailable Warrant (NBW) against him to get him here. He has to disclose the facts," Rather said.
Asking politicians not to drag Army into controversy, the Minister said; "We shouldn't link the allegations with Armed forces, who are apolitical and a credible institution." 
Participating in the discussion, Congress MLC Naresh Gupta put the ball in Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's court saying the State Government should act against VK Singh for his "irresponsible" utterances.
"Why shouldn't we initiate action against him? We can lodge an FIR against him for denigrating the democratic institutions of the State," he said.
Gupta said the State government is empowered to take on the former Army Chief.
"We are empowered to do so as we have rights and powers," he said, adding the state has a separate constitution.
Without naming PDP, Bashir Veeri of NC alleged that Rs 15 lakh were paid to political operatives from South Kashmir by one of the intelligence agencies.
"The revelations are a matter of concern for all of us and we need to ponder over the impact of such underhand dealings on the psyche of Kashmiri youth," he said
Another NC legislator Abdul Majid Bhat said that during 2002 elections Army had directed people to vote for a particular political party in south Kashmir.
Like other NC legislators, Bhat too demanded a thorough inquiry into the payoff allegations.
Another NC legislator Javaid Rana said VK Singh has dented credibility of democratic set-up in the State.
"What Syed Ali Shah Geelani, other separatists and Pakistani Inter- Service Intelligence couldn't do, VK Singh did that by his irresponsible utterances," he said.
Another NC leader Vijay Bakaya said Gen Singh has widened the trust deficit already existing between New Delhi and Kashmir.
"The remarks by Gen Singh have potential to shake belief in voluntary participation of people in Panchayat elections which were held last year," he said.
Sheikh Ghulam Rasool of NC termed the leakage of defense ministry report a matter of serious concern and added that it needs to be seen whether the report was deliberately leaked.
"We shouldn't drag Army into controversy. They have facilitated the democracy in Kashmir," he said.
"There is difference between facilitating and forcing to vote," he added.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party leader Syed Asgar Ali took strong exception to linking his party with VK Singh.
"If you are in the know of any secret funding, divulge it?" Asgar  asked them.
He said democracy is at evolutionary stage in Kashmir and it was wrong to link evolution of any regional party with agencies.

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