|Pinaka & Smerch MBRL systems on Tatra trucks | Photo: Shiv Aroor|
On March 2, INDIA TODAY, India’s largest weekly news magazine fronted a story about a bug scare in Defence Minister’s A.K. Antony’s office. We at Headlines Today picked up the story and put it on air. The story was denied almost instantly by the Army and MoD, but was followed up by virtually every news organisation, channel and wire agency. The story made a mention of suspicions that “off-the-air” interceptors had been employed by the Army to snoop on communications in the national capital, completely in violation of the law. On March 4, The Indian Express led with the story. A day later, the Army issued another denial, this time more comprehensive. My head still hurts when I read the denial, so I’ll put it up here, in full, for you to see. Trust me, read it fully:
The Story on Maligning the Army is a fabricated fiction and people responsible are some disgruntled officers, retired and serving, whose sole aim is to create a mistrust between the Army and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Military Intelligence has the mandate to routinely debug the offices of senior functionaries of the MoD and the Army. In a routine check, some abnormality was noticed in the Raksha Mantri’s office, which was brought to the notice of the Defence Secretary. Further checks carried out revealed that the voltage drop noticed was due to malfunctioning of the instrument. The Army does not carry out “Of the Air Monitoring” but seeks the assistance of the IB, if it finds the need. The Monitoring equipment is in the possession of the Signal Intelligence and is deployed along the borders and in Counter Insurgency areas. This equipment is under the control of the Director General Defence Intelligence Agency(DG DIA) and not under the Military Intelligence. The present story has been put out by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, who was the Ex DGDIA and who has been earlier questioned on the purchase of the “Of the air Monitoring System”, without sanction by the technically empowered committee. This officer has also been an allottee in Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai and has also offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited, which supplies vehicles to BEML. The Officer along with some disgruntled serving officers of the military intelligence, against whom disciplinary and administrative actions is in the pipeline has worked out this fictitious story. The Army strongly denies this and take strong exception to such salacious and malafide stories, coming out as news.