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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 20 Aug 2013
Pakistani snipers target Indian posts in Jammu
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, August 19
Pakistani forces are using snipers to target Indian troops across the International Border (IB) in Jammu. During the past month, there have been three incidents of sniping, in which one Border Security Force (BSF) soldier was killed and two were seriously wounded.

BSF top brass has directed local commanders to respond to enemy activity from across the border in an effective and calibrated manner.

BSF Special Director General Rajdip Singh said on August 11, a single round fired from Pakistan’s New Chinor post seriously injured a BSF trooper posted at the Alfamachan border outpost. Earlier, on August 5, sniper fire from Pakistan’s New Awam hit a BSF constable Ram Niwas, who later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, New Delhi. Counter-fire by BSF killed a Pakistani ranger.

On July 27, Pakistani snipers from Jagwal post targeted a BSF observation post, injuring a BSF trooper. BSF, in retaliation, killed two Pakistani rangers.

Pakistan’s so-called Border Action Teams (BATs) are known to be active along the IB and the Line of Control to assist infiltration of terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir and also to target Indian posts. The BSF recently foiled two BAT attempts to foment trouble.

On the intervening night of August 13 and 14, BSF troops detected movement of heavily armed terrorists through surveillance devices in the Krishnaghati area. BSF troops opened fire and the terrorists also retaliated and ran towards the LoC, taking advantage of thick vegetation and bad weather. Simultaneously, posts from across the LoC started indiscriminate firing to assist the terrorists. The BSF action prevented a likely terrorist attack on Indian posts.

Earlier, BSF troops in the Rajouri sector neutralised two terrorists who were members of a BAT team that had infiltrated across the LoC with the intention to inflict casualties on Indian forces. In this incident, the BSF had recovered two AK-47 rifles with nine magazines, five Chinese hand grenades and other items.

Pointing out that in the recent past, there has been a spurt in ceasefire violations, Rajdip Singh said since May, there have been 31 instances of violations in Jammu region and eight cases along the LoC, which indicates desperation of the ISI and Pakistani forces to get terrorists to infiltrate into the Indian territory. Besides Indian posts, Pakistan is targeting villages along the border. This month, BSF recovered close to Rs 5 lakh along with Pakistani SIM cards from RS Pura.
Tunda was in touch with ISI ex-chief
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung/TNS

New Delhi, August 19
Lashkar-e-Toiba bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda was in constant touch with a former head of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). “Tunda was in contact with Hamid Gul, a former chief of the ISI. Gul is a retired Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army,” a Delhi Police officer has said.

Gul was the head of the ISI from 1987 to 1989. Tunda first met him in 1995 after reaching Pakistan via Saudi Arabia and remained in touch with him until the day he was arrested. Tunda told investigators he was also in touch with other ISI agents who had instructed him to operate in India as he was well aware of the country.

The ISI agents whom he came in touch with operated a fake Indian currency racket in India. The fake currency was being smuggled into India through the Indo-Bangladesh border.

“Tunda revealed that the LeT is a tanzeem (organisation) functioning under the ISI. There are several such tanzeems run by the ISI,” the officer said.

The officer said underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the ISI were funding Tunda’s madrasas in Pakistan in return for using his well-connected Bangladesh network.

“He said he met Dawood’s aide Chhota Shakeel and some other associates. He says he can recognise them, but cannot remember a few of them by their names,” said the officer. Investigators claimed Tunda had allegedly visited Bangladesh, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and West Asian countries to indoctrinate youths for “jihad”.

“Waris, Tunda’s son from second wife Mumtaz, was caught by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Waris has remained in jail for eight years,” said the officer. He returned to Pakistan after his release.
One more body retrieved from Sindhurakshak
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, August 19
Divers from the Indian Navy today pulled out the body of another sailor from the ill-fated submarine INS Sindhurakshak, taking the total number of bodies retrieved so far to seven.

According to the naval authorities, the body was discovered by divers. The body has been sent to the state-owned JJ Hospital for postmortem and DNA analysis.

So far, divers have opened the submarine’s hatches in three places and are searching through its dark interiors.
A significant catch
Tunda part of Pak-based terror network

THE arrest of Abdul Karim 'Tunda' is a major feather in the cap of intelligence agencies and of the Delhi Police. One of India's top 20 wanted terrorists, he is considered to be the man behind over 40 bombings at various places in India. Tunda, the 70-year-old bombmaker, is affiliated to Lashkar-e-Toiba, and has been on the list of terrorists which India has demanded the Pakistani government hand over. He has eluded the net for long, but interrogation by the police of the high-level operative has already shown how Tunda was in touch with other terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim. In the coming days, the police will, no doubt, be able to piece together a better picture of the activities and the interaction of the carpenter-turned-terrorist.

The Pakistani hand in the terror networks that have carried out their nefarious activities has been obvious. Tunda was carrying a Pakistani passport in the name of Abdul Quddus. He was based in Pakistan and was in touch with the various other terrorist organisations and operators there. Terrorists get refuge, indoctrination, active assistance and training in Pakistan from where they are targeted to attack India. Indeed, the recent flare-ups along the line of control are thought to be cover activities aimed at facilitating the infiltration of terrorists into Jammu and Kashimir.

The police and intelligence agencies will continue to pick the brains of what is being described as the biggest catch till now. Tunda is believed to have interacted with terrorists of various hues and persuasions, including Babbar Khalsa International. No doubt his arrest and subsequent interrogation will yield a rich load of information that will have to be verified and used. Even though Tunda was not considered a top terrorist operations person in the recent years, he is an ideologue and an orator who ran a well-knit network in Pakistan and Bangladesh. He has long been in the game and has much to answer for. Coordination between various stakeholders will go a long way in optimising the use of operationable intelligence.
US-India ties hit a plateau
PM’s visit will not make a difference
by Harsh V. Pant

IT has now been confirmed that before going to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly deliberations in New York, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be visiting Washington in September for his second bilateral engagement with US President Barack Obama. Though New Delhi was very keen on the visit and the US President had extended an invitation to Manmohan Singh earlier this year, it's not entirely clear what a lame-duck Prime Minister is likely to achieve during this visit.

That US-India ties have hit a plateau has been evident from the lackluster engagements between the two sides in recent months.

It was the turn of US Vice President Joseph — a month after Secretary of State John Kerry's visit -- to India to reassure New Delhi how Washington remains keen on a robust partnership with India. Biden's four-day visit to India last month, first for a US Vice President in three decades, was aimed at laying the groundwork for the Indian Prime Minister's visit to the US in September.

Though it was clear from the very beginning that Biden's trip will not result in any 'deliverables', it also remains a mystery as to what an Indian Prime Minister at the fag-end of his term and with hardly any political capital left will be able to do to galvanise this very important relationship with a perfunctory visit to the US.

These are difficult times for the US-India bilateral relationship which has been flagging for quite some time now and there is little likelihood of it gaining momentum anytime soon. The growing differences between the two today are not limited to one or two areas but are spread across most areas of bilateral concern. These include market access issues, the problems in implementing the US-India civil nuclear accord, the US immigration changes, changing US posture towards Afghanistan, defence cooperation and trade. Biden's visit was specifically focused on trying to give a push to economic ties, enhancing cooperation on defence issues, pushing India for a greater role in the Asia-Pacific and addressing climate change.

That the US is clearly concerned about Indian economic slowdown was reflected in Biden's comments. He exhorted New Delhi to try to take bilateral trade with the US to $500 billion by removing trade barriers and inconsistencies in the tax regime. He recommended more measures like recent relaxation in the FDI rules by underlining "caps in FDI, inconsistent tax system, barriers to market access, civil nuclear cooperation, bilateral investment treaty and policies protecting investment."

Investor confidence in the Indian economy, Asia's third largest, is at an all-time low with growth slowing down to its lowest level in a decade. Foreign direct investment slid about 21 per cent to $36.9 billion last fiscal year compared with 2011-12. The US is keen to see India remove investment caps in sectors like finance, retail and insurance. The US corporate sector has been up in arms in recent months about India's trade policies, complaining that American firms are being discriminated against and the US intellectual property rights are being undermined by India. Sporadic outbursts of reform measures from New Delhi have not been enough to restore investor confidence in India even as Indian policymakers are now busy trying to secure their votes for the next elections. Policy-making in India remains paralyzed and haphazard with Washington getting increasingly frustrated with the Indian government's lackadaisical public policy.

For his part, Biden went out of his way to assuage the concerns of the Indian corporate sector by suggesting that Washington plans to increase the number of temporary visas and green cards to highly skilled workers from India. The concerns, however, continue to persist because the US Senate has already cleared the much talked-about immigration Bill that will significantly restrict Indian IT companies in the US. If the House of Representatives ends up endorsing it, then the Obama Administration will have to do some heavy lifting to mollify India.

Meanwhile, the civil nuclear deal is floundering as the US companies remain wary of Indian laws on compensation claims in the event of a nuclear accident. India's nuclear liability law is aimed at ensuring that foreign companies operating in Indian nuclear sector assume nearly unlimited liability for accidents, a condition that all but precludes the participation of US firms. After all the political and diplomatic investment that Washington made in making the nuclear deal happen, there is a pervading sense in the US that the returns have not been at all impressive.

On climate change where the Obama Administration is focusing significantly, Biden pushed India to work with the US to reduce the flow of hydroflurocarbons and provide opportunities to the scientific establishment to work on green technology options. The US is already working with China on a joint effort to curb greenhouse gases.

Biden also tried to ease Indian concerns on Afghanistan by underlining that the Taliban would have to give up ties with Al Qaida and accept the Afghan constitution as part of the reconciliation process. New Delhi remains concerned about the impact of US withdrawal from Afghanistan for Indian security. The recent bombing outside the Indian consulate in Jalalabad merely highlights the challenges India faces in Afghanistan.

According to Biden, "there are no obvious places where Indian interests and American interests diverge worldwide, regionally or domestically." That may well be true but in the absence of a big idea to push the relationship forward strategically, the tactical issues where there are significant differences between Washington and New Delhi continue to shape the trajectory of the US-India bilateral ties.

The relationship stands at a serious inflection point. The two sides need to start thinking seriously about bringing it back on track. New Delhi, in particular, needs to acknowledge the importance of what Biden suggested when he said that "there is no contradiction between strategic autonomy and strategic partnership." In the name of 'strategic autonomy' New Delhi has become quite adept at scuttling its own rise. At this moment of significant geostrategic flux in the Indo-Pacific, India and the US need each other like no other time in the past. Biden's visit has underlined India's importance in US strategic calculus. It is now for India to decide what role it sees for the US in its foreign policy matrix and as a corollary what role it sees for itself in the rapidly changing global order.
Govt non-committal on talks with Pak
Girja Shankar Kaura/TNS

New Delhi, August 19
The government today stopped short of any commitment on a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next month.

In reply to a question by Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley that whether the government was still looking at engagement with Pakistan at the “highest level” in this atmosphere, Defence Minister AK Antony said: “My words in the statement may be different from what the Leader of the Opposition had said, but the feeling is the same.”

“Our restraint should not be taken for granted nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC ever be doubted,” he said.

On clarifications raised by members on a suo motu statement issued by him earlier in the day on the killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistani soldiers, Antony said: “Yes it (the ambush in Poonch district of Jammu on August 6 by Pakistani soldiers) would have consequences on our relationship with Pakistan” and that the government understands “the mood of the nation”.

He assured the members that the response of the government would be based on the response of the House and that the government respected the unanimous response of the Rajya Sabha.

Earlier, Jaitley had sought a clarification from the Defence Minister on conflicting signals emerging from across the border.

The Defence Minister assured the House that the statement issued by him earlier in the day was the “statement by the government” and that the government was bound by every paragraph of it.

“We mean every word of the statement and it has been prepared with great deliberation,” Antony said.

Members, cutting across party lines, sought to know the government’s response to the killing of Indian soldiers.

Antony said the government understood the mood of the nation, of Parliament and that everybody was behind the Indian Army to protect the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC). “The Army has full support of the government,” he said.

Army Chief briefs PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Mamnohan Singh called Army Chief General Bikram Singh for a briefing on the existing situation along the LoC. Sources said it was an impromptu call from the PMO. “It was not a routine meeting and was not pre-scheduled,” a source said. The Chief of the three services briefs the Prime Minister on a weekly basis. — TNS
Exchange of fire on in Poonch
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 19
Pakistani troops continue to shell Indian forward posts with mortars and rocket propelled grenades in the Hamirpur, Mendhar, Balakote and Mankote areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district. The Indian Army has been responding in equal measure in these areas. “Heavy exchange of fire is on in Mendhar, Hamirpur, Balakote and Mankote areas since last night,” said a senior Army officer.
“There was yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistani army in the Balakote and Mendhar areas at 2.05 pm yesterday. They also opened heavy firing in Hamirpur and Balakote border belts along the LoC in Poonch last night,” said Defence spokesperson SN Acharya.

They fired mortars, RPGs and automatic weapons and were responded in equal measure, he added. No casualty or injury was reported on the Indian side, he said.

Pakistani troops also pounded civilian areas with medium mortar shells and rockets, triggering panic among border residents in Mankote, Hamirpur and Mendhar belts, said reports.

There have been 17 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in past the 10 days. At least 73 ceasefire violations have taken place from the Pakistani side from January 1 to August 19 — an 85 per cent jump since last year.

Five soldiers were killed on the intervening night of August 5 and 6 in the Chakan-da-Bagh area by Pakistan’s border action team, triggering tension between the two countries. The Poonch sector has witnessing heavy fire all along the Line of Control since August 8.

The Pakistani army opened small and heavy arms fire in Drass and Kaksar on August 12 after a gap of 14 years.

“As of now the skirmishes between the two sides are confined to mortar (a battalion level weapon). The artillery fire has not been used so far for the simple reason that it has more range, causes concentrated and considerable damage. And, then simply it is considered to be a war,” said an Army source.

Major General VP Singh, GOC, Ace of Spades Division (25 Infantry Division), had yesterday said Pakistan was making a “serious mistake” by carrying out ceasefire violations and attacks by the border action team along the Line of Control.

Another ceasefire violation

* Yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistani army in the Balakote and Mendhar areas

* Civilian areas also targeted with medium mortar shells and rockets

* 17 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the past 10 days; 73 violations recorded since Jan 1
Army chief briefs Prime Minister on LoC situation
NEW DELHI: Against the backdrop of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, Army chief Gen Bikram Singh on Monday briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the situation there and the retaliatory operations being carried out by the Indian troops.

The Army chief held an "unscheduled" 40-minute meeting with the Prime Minister at his 7, Race Course Road residence and briefed him about the ongoing ceasefire violations on the Line of Control, sources said here.

The meeting comes soon after defence minister A K Antony made a statement in the Rajya Sabha in which he said the number of ceasefire violations by Pakistan has been rising and after the killing of five Indian soldiers on August 6.

He said 24 such violations have taken place since August six.

The defence minister said the Army has mobilised troops and they are retaliating effectively and strongly.

The Army chief has been holding meetings with his top officers including his three-star principal staff officers including the DGMO and the DGMI to chalk out the response of the Army in view of the situation on the LoC.

During his visit to the field formations along the LoC, the chief had pulled up his commanders there for the failure to check the killing of five Indian soldiers earlier this month and the beheading of own troops in January.

The force is also preparing itself for tackling the possibility of increased attacks by the Pakistan Border Action Teams (BAT) on the LoC.
India says Pakistan testing its restraint in Kashmir
NEW DEHLI: India said on Monday it was running out of patience with alleged Pakistan army-backed transgressions across Kashmir as cross-border firing spread further north for the first time since the two armies agreed a ceasefire in 2003.

Tension has been running high along one of the world’s most militarised borders in Kashmir since August 6 when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed while on a patrol.

Indian Defense Minister AK Antony accused it was clear that specialist troops of the Pakistani army were involved in the attack on the soldiers whose deaths triggered criticism that the government’s posture toward the neighbour had been too soft.

Antony demanded that Pakistan act against those involved in the latest incident as well as the killing of two soldiers back in January, one of whom was decapitated.

“Naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the Line of Control and for our relations with Pakistan,” he told parliament, referring to the de facto border between the two countries in the Kashmir region. “Our restraint should not be taken for granted.”

Pakistan has denied involvement and instead accused India of opening fire and killing one of its soldiers in late July. Also the same month, police in Azad Jammu and Kashmir said four civilians who had gone to collect herbs near the Line of Control had gone missing and their families believed they had been arrested by the Indian army.

The rhetoric in India has been steadily mounting as the Congress-led coalition government faces a difficult election less than a year away, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being criticised by opposition hardliners and even from within his party for trying to quietly relaunch peace talks with Pakistan.

On Sunday night, the two armies – which are in close proximity in many areas – exchanged fire along the Kargil stretch of the mountains where the ceasefire has held since November 2003.

“The firing continued for half an hour, however, there was no loss of life or damage”, said a police officer in the Indian side of Kashmir.

The two armies fought an undeclared war in Kargil in 1999 after Pakistani irregulars crossed the Line of Control, prompting Indian air and ground operations to evict them. They have fought three wars since 1947.

Indian army officials accused that the latest attack on its soldiers was carried out by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT). The unit includes members of Pakistan’s commando Special Services Group and irregular forces, including members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“Pakistan is making a serious mistake with regard to ceasefire and BAT attacks. It should not do it. It is not going to deter us. The army is here to respond in each and every act of Pakistan,” said Indian army Major-General VP Singh, a division commander in the Rajouri sector along the border.

So far, the two armies have exchanged small-arms firing, refraining from the artillery duels they engaged in before the ceasefire in 2003.
Morale is high, we will retaliate: Indian Army on LoC situation
Krishnagati (Poonch LoC): Undeterred by continuous mortar shell blasts and rattle of heavy machine guns aiming their posts, Indian jawans brave bad weather and inhospitable terrain to keep a ‘hawk’s eye’ on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector.

“Our morale is very high. We are not scared of Pakistani firing and are ready to retaliate strongly, paying them in the same coin,” Sepoy Raj Singh told PTI. “We have to keep an hawk’s eye on the LoC at all times… it does not matter whether there is a ceasefire violation or firing on our posts or infiltration of militants and BAT teams,” Singh added.
Situation in the past few weeks in Poonch-Rajouri sector has deteriorated following repeated ceasefire violations, firing on forward posts and sniper-firings which has forced jawans, officers and commanding officers to remain on their toes along the 225-km-long LoC.

Not only they have to patrol the LoC to check infiltration of militants, they also have to battle inhospitable terrains at high altitudes coupled with near zero-visibility.

“Apart from Pakistan Army firing, we have to fight inhospitable terrains. Visibility in cloudy conditions along the LoC becomes so poor that we cannot see our own jawans even at a distance of 10 to 20 metres,” Altaf Ahmed, a JCO, said.

Unperturbed by continuous firing and burst of Pak 62-mm mortar shells near a high-altitude post here last night, Sepoy Singh assured his officer of a ‘strong retaliation’. Another jawan manning a LMG post bang on Zeroline in KG sub-sector pointed out in the dark and said in a defiant tone, “We will not be cowed down.”

“Pakistani troops have been firing intensely on our forward posts daily with mortars, rockets, RPG and high calibre weaponry,” Brigade Commander, 120 Infantry Brigade, A Sengupta told PTI.

“Our troops are alert and if there is firing from across the border we are ready with a befitting reply,” he said. General Officer Commanding (GoC), 25 Infantry Division, Major General VP Singh yesterday said, “Morale of our troops is high. You need a lot of force to break it. We are actively responding along the LoC.”

Since January, there has been 70 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops, which is 85 per cent more than last year during the same corresponding period, Army officers said.

Referring to the ceasefire violations, Singh warned that Pakistan was making a big mistake and advised them to refrain from doing so. “You (Pakistan) are making a serious mistake…It would be better if you do not do it. This would not affect us nor weaken our resolve. We are here to respond to each and every act of yours in whichever way it is,” he said.

Blaming Pakistan for killing of its five soldiers on August 6 in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, India today said its restraint should not be taken for granted and that the incident will have consequence on the relationship with the neighbouring country.

“Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC ever be doubted,” Defence Minister A K Antony said in Rajya Sabha.
Army intelligence sees foreign hand in Darjeeling agitation
DARJEELING: The latest round of agitation in the hills of West Bengal for a separate state of Gorkhaland is getting support from elements in a neighbouring country, according to military intelligence reports.

A defence ministry team on Monday met senior army officers who are supervising the India-China border in the northeast and asked the army intelligence to review the situation, particularly after some satellite phones, which went missing a few years back, were tracked recently during surveillance.

Sources said the Sikkim government had bought 20 Israel-made satellite phones in 2003 for better connectivity in the remote areas. Four of these phones went missing later. A few months ago, one of these phones suddenly pinged on the military intelligence surveillance. It was tracked near the Lebong cantonment area on the outskirts of Darjeeling, but the signals stopped before MI could zero in on the source. Days later, the Gorkhaland agitation swept the hills.

Reports prepared by intelligence agencies corroborate that some senior Gorkhaland activists visited Nepal's Illam district (just across Darjeeling subdivision) just months before the fresh movement. "We have identified four persons who went to Illam," said a senior administrative officer, who has also submitted a report to the home department on the movement of an armed revolutionary faction of the Nepal Maoists in the area.

"Darjeeling subdivision shares a porous border with Illam. Recently, the district administration was reviewing a drinking water project in Sukia block when the cross-border movement of Nepal-based Left rebels was reported," said a home department official.

Protests in front of the Indian mission in Kathmandu have given credence to the intelligence reports of cross-border support to the movement.

There are fears of a rerun of the bloodshed of the late '80s and '90s, when Subash Ghisingh had used ex-servicemen in his armed struggle. The Army is already thinking of reaching out to military veterans in Darjeeling to persuade them not to join a violent movement.

Sources said at Monday's meeting, army officers spoke of a neighbouring country's interest in the Gorkhaland movement as in the mid-'80s. "During the GNLF movement, an influential family in Nepal had extended support to GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh. The GNLF had used thousands of ex-army personnel to start an armed movement. At that time the Indian Army mapped out 'chor batos' (hidden hilly passes) used by the rebels to attack policemen. They also started a social bonding operation to reconnect with ex-army personnel and neutralise them," said an army officer, pointing out that such social bonding is needed now to isolate army veterans from any anti-state movement.

Military intelligence also pointed out that on Sunday, a huge crowd led by Nikendra Gurung demonstrated in front of the Indian embassy in Kathmandu demanding Gorkhaland. A section of the Nepal media is campaigning in favour of Gorkhaland and accusing the Bengal government of using "repressive power against Gorkhaland activists".

Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, however, denied any link with Nepal Maoists. He said that his statehood movement is non-violent and accused the government of trying to malign it.

Meanwhile, the hills observed the 'stay-home' agitation with streets wearing a deserted look in Darjeeling.
Recording of ‘bribe’ offer to former army chief not clear: CBI
 The recording device handed over by fomer Army Chief V.K. Singh, purported to carry a conversation relating to a bribe offer made to him, is malfunctioning and nothing can be retrieved from it, the CBI said on Monday.

Gen. (Retd.) Singh had claimed that a bribe offer of Rs. 14 crore was made to him by a senior retired officer to clear a tranche of 600 sub-standard all terrain trucks.

Quoting a forensic report, sources from the CBI said some noise came out of the device and nothing was audible after which it was sent for examination at the Central Forensic and Scientific Laboratory (CFSL).

Despite trying various techniques, the experts at CFSL could not manage to retrieve any data.

“Maybe it was lying with the CBI for sometime and the data was further corrupted,” the former Army Chief’s counsel Vishwajeet Singh said.

This has almost dashed CBI’s hopes of making any progress in the case and the agency may now approach the courts with a closure report.

The CBI had registered a case on October 19, 2012 after carrying out preliminary enquiry for nearly six months.

Lieutenant Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh was named by the CBI as an accused under Prevention of Corruption Act, as charges were levelled against him by V.K. Singh in his complaint.

Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh denied all charges levelled against him and also filed a defamation case against the former Chief.

Searches were carried out at the Kailash Colony residence of Vectra Chairman Ravinder Rishi, also a Director in Tatra Sipox U.K. which supplied the all-terrain trucks to BEML for giving them to the army, and that of Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh at Safdarjung Enclave in south Delhi, the CBI said.

Keywords: Ravinder Rishi, V.K. Singh, Tejinder Singh Tatra truck deal, CBI probe, Army chief bribery charge, defence procurement scams, Tatra-BEML deal

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