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Sunday, 6 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 06 Jan 2013




http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/vk-singhs-family-alleges-spying-by-army/article4276608.ece
V.K. Singh’s family alleges spying by Army
High drama was witnessed at the residence of former Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh here on Saturday after a Major went there purportedly to remove the army’s telephone exchange but his family alleged that it was an attempt to plant snooping bugs.

The Major of the Signals Regiment was “detained” by the family members who called the media to the scene in Mandir Marg in Delhi Cantonment at around 2 pm.

They linked it to the withdrawal of the Z-plus security to Gen Singh, who has been at loggerheads with establishment for over a year following controversy related to his age issue.

Gen Singh’s family members claimed that Major R. Vikram from 1st Signals Regiment entered their house without prior permission and may have been trying to bug their telephones.

“We found him (Major) at the house. They (team) could not give any reasonable logic for being here. They had no valid documents. They may have come to bug the phone. We detained, apprehended him. He revealed his identity as Maj R Vikram from 1st Signals Regiment,” said Gen Singh’s lawyer Vishwajeet Singh.

Claiming that the Army Major and his team had “some cards with them”, he said, “Recently they have withdrawn security and now this has happened. There could be something big.”

Army sources admitted that the exchange was being removed from the former Army Chief’s residence as part of the withdrawal of Z-plus security category with effect from November last.

The Army dismissed the allegations of snooping attempt, saying its team had gone there to remove the Army telephone exchange installed there and the issue was created due to communication gap.

“Due to a miscommunication somewhere, a Signals Regiment party went to remove the Army exchange and lines at the Mandir Marg house of Gen V K Singh. Mrs V K Singh objected to the removal of the exchange without prior notice,” Army said in a statement.

In deference to her objection, the team returned without removing the exchange.

The house has been provided by the Defence Ministry for one year from his retirement on May 31 last year.

“There was a communication gap. The Army team had gone there to remove telephone exchange but no prior information was given due to which all this happened,” Army PRO Col J Dahiya said.

He said the Army will now carry out the exercise after giving prior information to the family.

Interestingly, Gen Singh has himself been in the midst of a controversy following allegations that during his tenure as Army Chief he had used sophisticated off-the-air interceptors to snoop on the officials of Defence Ministry at the height of his age controversy.

The specialised unit Technical Support Division is now in the process of being disbanded.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_general-vk-singh-sparks-bugging-row_1785935
General VK Singh sparks bugging row
Former Army Chief General (retd) VK Singh on Saturday alleged that top hierarchy of the Indian Army was involved in the reported bugging incident that took place at his residence in Delhi Cantonment area.

The government had, earlier in December, withdrawn the security cover provided to the former Army Chief after he sided with joined protests against the government in the support of the Delhi gang-rape victim.

Singh had been given Z-plus protection for six months after he retired on May 31 this year, a security cover extended to all former army chiefs for the same duration.
“I am not in town, but have received information regarding this development that an Army team, consisting of signal personnel, entered my house in Delhi Cantonment area. They said they had orders from top hierarchy of the army,” said Gen Singh, who is presently in Gujarat. He is expected to return to Delhi on Saturday evening.
The Indian Army accepted its fault for not informing in advance to General Singh about removal of the exchange. It clarified that there was a communication gap and the team has returned without removing the telephone exchange.
“There was a communication gap. A team under a Major of Signals was sent to remove the official telephone exchange at former Army Chief's house without informing him. Mrs VK Singh objected to the removal of this without any notice. The team has come back and the exchange will be removed in due course of time,” said Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya, the spokesperson of the Indian Army.
However, the former Army Chief's lawyer Vishwajeet Singh claimed that the residence could have been bugged.
“It could be possible that this could be a case of bugging. He could not show any supporting document. The authorities have been informed. This is not a small thing. This could be a major issue. Earlier, his (General Singh) security was also withdrawn,” he said.
The Signals team was led by Major R Vikram. Even though the police were informed, no one was detained.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/family-of-ex-chief-of-army-vk-singh-alleges-bugging-attempt-at-his-house-313665
Family of ex-chief of Army, VK Singh, alleges bugging attempt at his house
An official from the Army reportedly attempted to remove telephone lines from former chief of Army General VK Singh's house in Delhi Cantonment today.

According to reports, a Major from the Signals Regiment of the Army came to the retired general's house today with his team and tried to take away the telephone lines installed. General VK Singh was not present at the house.

The official did not have the authorisation required, say General VK Singh's family members. He reportedly attempted to take away the telephone lines forcibly but was not allowed to leave the residence by General VK Singh's wife. The retired army chief's family has alleged that the official was attempting to bug the telephone line at their residence. The army has denied the allegation, saying the incident was a result of a minor miscommunication.
Officials from the Delhi Police and the military police later reached General VK Singh's residence.

General Singh has had a bitter relationship with the government over the past two years. He took the government to court over a row involving his date of birth when he was in office as the Army chief. After his retirement in May, he has been seen with ant-corruption activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev, slamming the government for alleged corruption.

General Singh was also present at India Gate during the protests after the gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi last month.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130106/main5.htm
A year on, deal with Dasault not in sight
KV Prasad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
Contrary to expectations of an early push towards finalising the contract for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force, the deal will not be signed before the current financial year comes to an end in March this year.

The IAF is keen that the negotiations are concluded and the way is paved to finalise the multi-billion dollar deal with the French manufacturer Dasault Aviation for its Rafale ominrole fighter plane.

Sources in the Ministry of Defence told The Tribune that there was no possibility that the contract can be signed in the current financial year. While the negotiations started after Dassault was declared the lowest bidder in January 2012, indications are that the discussions between the Contract Negotiation Committee and the French company is far from over.

Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Officer Charles Edelstenne, scheduled to demit office next week, told a French Parliamentary panel last month that while there was “relative optimism” over the progress of talks. He acknowledged the negotiations were tough. “We are deep in talks at the moment. It’s a complicated country, the negotiations are tough, but there is a desire to wrap up on both sides,” Edelstenne told the panel.

The contract envisages that of the 126 aircraft, 18 will be in fly-away condition while the rest will be license produced by the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that will do the final assembly. Reports indicate that among the points of discussion was a suggestion by the French manufacturer that it be allowed decide on the quantum of work to be done by the HAL and private enterprise in India, to cater to the 50 per cent offset clause in the deal.

However, last week a news agency reported that the Ministry of Defence insisted that the HAL remain the lead integrator since any deviation in the tender floated in 2007 would require it be taken back to the Defence Acquisition Council for approval.

In the meantime, the Defence Ministry received a jolt in the form of Rs 10,000 crore cut from the Rs.79,578 crore capital expenditure in the 2012-13 annual budget, putting a question mark on many acquisitions that the three services — Army, Navy and IAF — were planning. The Ministry of Finance intimated the Defence Ministry of the budget cut which comes at a time when the tri-services were seeking to accelerate modernisation programme.

Depending on the progress of negotiations and sorting out issues including re-evaluating the controversy on the process leading to the declaration of the lowest bidder, the government will be left with a narrow window to sign the deal before preparations for the 2014 General Election set-in.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130106/main3.htm
VK Singh’s family alleges snooping by Army
‘Detains’ Signals officer
Army terms it communication gap; apologises
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
The simmering divide and mistrust within the Indian Army re-surfaced today following a high drama at the residence of former Army Chief Gen VK Singh (retd) in the Delhi Cantonment.

A Major from the Corps of Signals, who was detailed to visit the house of the former Army Chief for official work, was detained by the guards and the family of General VK Singh (retd), alleging it was an unauthorised visit and the motive was to install snooping bugs. The Army had denied this.

General VK Singh, who retired on May 31 last year, has been allocated an Army accommodation for a period of one year (till May 31, 2013) on Mandir Marg in the cantonment.

The Major was detained in the house of General VK Singh as his family saw this as an attempt to plant bugs.

Indian Army spokesman Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya vehemently denied this saying the signal team was there to remove the official communication equipment. General VK Singh is out of Delhi on a private visit.

Late in the evening, Col Dahiya issued a formal statement saying “apparently due to miscommunication, advance information did not reach the residence of Gen VK Singh (retd). The lack of advance information caused slight resentment. The matter was amicably resolved with the intervention of the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. The Army respects all its retired Chiefs and senior officers and will continue to do so.”

Major R Vikram was detained around 11 pm. Surprisingly, the media got entry inside the house of the former Army Chief and tried to speak to the Major, who was not authorised to speak to the media.

It was only around 5 pm that that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Delhi area, a Lieut-General-rank officer, visited the house and tendered an apology for the ‘communication gap’ that the stand-off ended.

General VK Singh’s lawyer, Vishwajeet Singh, told reporters: “We found him (Major) at the house. They (team) could not give any reasonable logic for (his) being here. They had no valid documents. They may have come to bug the phone. We detained, apprehended him.”

Army authorities explained the sequence saying the signals team had been detailed to remove a special telecommunication exchange installed at the house. Such equipment is part of the protocol for a person under Z-category of security as all calls made to the protected person are routed through an operator and that equipment.

Once the Z-category security period (six months after his retirement) ended on November 30, the equipment had to be removed and the operators, now redundant, had to be called back.

The signals team went to the house and met the former Chief’s daughter. She even spoke to the commanding officer of the Signals unit in Delhi, officials said.

As the team was doing its work, Bharati Singh, wife of General VK Singh, arrived and objected to the removal of the exchange equipment without prior intimation and asked the team for its authorisation. The team reportedly was not carrying the written authorisation.


http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/army-officer-detained-for-allegedly-placing-bug-in-general-vk-singhs-house/1/240952.html
Army officer detained for allegedly placing bug in Gen Singh's house

High drama was witnessed at the residence of former Indian Army Chief Gen V K Singh in New Delhi on Saturday after a Major went there purportedly to remove the army's telephone exchange but his family alleged that it was an attempt to plant snooping bugs.

The Major of the Signals Regiment was "detained" by the family members who called the media to the scene in Mandir Marg in Delhi Cantonment at around 2 PM.

They linked it to the withdrawal of the Z-plus security to General Singh, who has been at loggerheads with establishment for over a year following controversy related to his age issue.

Gen Singh's family members claimed that Major R Vikram from 1st Signals Regiment entered their house without prior permission and may have been trying to bug their telephones.

"We found him (Major) at the house. They (team) could not give any reasonable logic for being here. They had no valid documents. They may have come to bug the phone. We detained, apprehended him. He revealed his identity as Maj R Vikram from 1st Signals Regiment," said Gen Singh's lawyer Vishwajeet Singh.

Claiming that the Army Major and his team had "some cards with them", he said, "Recently they have withdrawn security and now this has happened. There could be something big."

Army sources admitted that the exchange was being removed from the former Army Chief's residence as part of the withdrawal of Z-plus security category with effect from November last.

The Army dismissed the allegations of snooping attempt, saying its team had gone there to remove the Army telephone exchange installed there and the issue was created due to communication gap.

"Due to a miscommunication somewhere, a Signals Regiment party went to remove the Army exchange and lines at the Mandir Marg house in New Delhi of Gen V K Singh. Mrs V K Singh objected to the removal of the exchange without prior notice," Indian Army said in a statement.

In deference to her objection, the team returned without removing the exchange.

The house has been provided by the Defence Ministry for one year from his retirement on May 31 last year.

"There was a communication gap. The Army team had gone there to remove telephone exchange but no prior information was given due to which all this happened," Army PRO Col J Dahiya said.

He said the Army will now carry out the exercise after giving prior information to the family.

Interestingly, Gen Singh has himself been in the midst of a controversy following allegations that during his tenure as Army Chief he had used sophisticated off-the-air interceptors to snoop on the officials of Defence Ministry at the height of his age controversy.

The specialised unit Technical Support Division is now in the process of being disbanded.



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