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Congress condemns spook story on troop movement published in Indian Express

April 4, 2012 - New Delhi

Condemning the media report which suggested that two units of the Indian Army had made a non notified and unexpected movement towards New Delhi, Congress Party on Wednesday said the Indian Express should not have published it, as the matter of the Defence Ministry is linked to the security of the country.

"The Defence Ministry and the Government have clarified it. And then there is no doubt about it. I condemn that the Indian Express tried to sensationalize it. The matter of the Defence Ministry is linked to the security of the country," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.

"To publish reports related to matters of the Defence Ministry is not in the interest of the country. The Indian Express should not have published it. The Defence Ministry has very clearly clarified it," he added.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Defence Minister A.K. Antony earlier in the day rubbished the report published by Indian Express.

Dr. Singh termed the report to be 'alarmist' and said such reports 'should not be taken at face value'.

Antony on his part termed the report to be "absolutely baseless".

"Absolutely baseless. Army has already explained this. It is usual, natural activities. Nothing unusual. We are absolutely confident of the patriotism of the armed forces. Don't question their patriotism. They will not do anything to undermine Indian democracy," he told the media in Visakhapatnam.

According to the Indian Express report, two-army units moved towards New Delhi without notifying the government on January 16.

While the army described it as a routine fog-time exercise, an investigation by the newspaper reveals the incident took place hours after Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh had moved the Supreme Court on his age controversy.he paper further cites central intelligence agencies as reporting an unexpected movement by a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar, Haryana, on January 16.

Routine lookouts confirmed the movement of an entire unit of the Mechanised Infantry with Russian-made Armoured Fighting Vehicles carried on 48 tank transporters.

The report also said that a unit of the Agra-based 50 Para Brigade was also moved.

The Indian Express claims that Defence Minister A.K. Antony was informed of the movement and immediately put in motion an old contingency plan-by issuing a terror alert that entailed more police checking of vehicles and a slowing down of traffic.


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