The newspaper report cites that there were unexpected movements of key army units “towards Delhi” on the night of 16th January. This was incidentally the same day when VK Singh decided to take the age row matter to the Supreme Court embarrassing the Centre. [UPDATE: UPA Min leaked army coup story to malign Gen VK Singh?]
The Indian Express explicitly mentions on how on the night of Jan 16 some central intelligence agencies reported that a mechanised infantry unit based in Hisar, Haryana that was part of the 33rd Armoured Division started off a clandestine movement towards Delhi. The report also added how a part of the airborne 50 Para Brigade based at Agra also kicked off movements to the capital at around the same time. These facts are not denied by the army.
In the wake of such developments, it has been reported that a late night meeting was called by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma to order Lt Gen AK Choudhary, Director General, Military Operations, to order the units back. On asked to give an explanation on this unauthorized movement, the explanation was that the same was done if the army units could be deployed in the case of fog under an emergency situation.
When read between the lines, the matter is only exposing the level of distrust between the Defence Ministry and the Army and the chances of an Army coup likely to occur in lieu of the changing power equations.
When two military units of the Indian Army were mobilized without the express command of the Government, the mere issue has the potential to send shockwaves across the country. The report also says that the PM was alerted on the matter at the crack of dawn on Jan 17.
Explanation was also sought on why the movement was carried out this far towards the outskirts of Delhi, and why the Indian Air Force was not informed is also mentioned in the report.
The Indian Army has rubbished the report in the newspaper and in a statement said, “Routine training at the formation level is carried out to check mobilisation according to standard operating procedure. Almost all army units carry out this procedure at regular intervals. Once effectiveness is checked, the troops are called back. In this case too the troops were called back according to sop. In case of adverse weather conditions like fog, we need to test our mobilisation effectiveness.”
With the UPA government, including the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister sure to face a lot of questions, the fingers seem to be pointing more and more towards VK Singh who has already got into the bad books of the Govt.