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Army report reveals special unit was raised for Pakistan; Indian media downplays its sensitive contents
 
 
Umar Cheema
Monday, October 21, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: Recently retired Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh has admitted that India sponsored bomb blasts in Pakistan and doled out money to the separatist elements in Balochistan, a disclosure downplayed by the Indian media so far.

 

Buying silence of Kashmiri leaders in Indian held Kashmir and phone tapping inside India were also part of the sensitive report.The ex-army chief reveals this in an inquiry report prepared by India’s DG military operations shining light on activities of an army unit raised after the Mumbai attacks.

 

VK Singh last month announced a political alliance with BJP leader Narendra Modi who was responsible for the massacre of the Muslims in Indian Gujarat.A portion of the explosive report indicting the former army chief of terrorist activities inside Pakistan was downplayed by the Indian media that largely used ‘neighboring country’ as a reference and instead highlighted its parts relating to his activities of phone-tapping inside India and buying silence of politicians in Indian-held Kashmir through loads of cash.

 

The dirty tricks sanctioned by the top Indian general were carried out by Tactical Support Division (TSD), an Indian army unit raised after Mumbai attacks on the directives of the Defence Minister and National Security Adviser Shev Shankar Menon in order to “perform a particular task to secure borders and internal situation in the country.”

 

TSD consisted of six officers, five JCOs and 30 men and operated out of an unmarked two-storeyed building within the Delhi Cantonment dubbed the ‘Butchery’, that was a refurbished slaughterhouse of colonial times, The India Today reported.

 

“The division was headed by Colonel Munishwar Nath Bakshi, a tall, flamboyant intelligence officer in his early 40s, better known by an unusual nickname, ‘Hunny’,” it said.As the inquiry body was set up to investigate, Col Bakshi, a confidante of Gen Singh, got himself admitted in a mental hospital pretending that he was under serious mental stress.

 

Former Army Chief VK Singh allegedly used TSD, a clandestine collective of handpicked military intelligence personnel, to settle scores on both sides of the contentious Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India, reported The India Today, in its October 7 edition.

 

Between October and November 2011, India Today reported this month, TSD had claimed money “to try enrolling the secessionist chief in the province of a neighbouring country” and “Rs1.27 crore (Indian currency) to prevent transportation of weapons between neighbouring countries”. In early 2011, TSD claimed an unspecified amount for carrying out “eight low-intensity bomb blasts in a neighboring country”, according to this weekly Indian magazine.

 

The Hindustan Times earlier reported about the covert operation inside Pakistan by TSD and quoted its former official stating it was assigned to nab Hafiz Saeed of Jamaatud Dawah but didn’t mention TSD’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan as has been revealed through inquiry board.

 

Since there was no explicit mention of Pakistan, it didn’t emerge on the radar of Pakistani media. The News spoke to different journalistic sources in India privy to details who confirmed that it was about Pakistan.

 

India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, who headed a Board of Officers’ inquiry under the direct orders of Gen Bikram Singh, current army chief, to review the functioning of the TSD submitted the report in March this year to the Indian government. While report is not being publicised, however, TSD was closed in December 2012.

 

An RTI request filed for the copy of this report was also denied, stating that sharing this information was prejudicial to national security and can harmrelations with the neighbouring countries.

 

“In so far as your request for supply of order regarding setting up of ‘TSD’ and enquiry etc, is concerned, it is regretted that the same cannot be supplied in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act,” the ministry said in reply to an RTI query as quoted in an Indian paper.

 

“The section bars disclosure of information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence,” it further stated.

 

The inquiry report on TSD started leaking after former army chief’s disclosure in a TV interview that the army had “transferred funds to all ministers in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947”. His comments triggered a firestorm of indignant counter-allegations all the way from Delhi to Srinagar. The payouts, he insisted, were not “bribes” or for “political purpose”, but part of the larger initiative to promote stability in the insurgency-ridden state.