Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Spoof of spook

On 4/4/2012 Indian Express had the headline on front page “The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt.”

The report talked about central intelligence agencies. Were both RAW and IB involved in reporting the movement? RAW is supposed to gather intelligence abroad.

The report was the talking point on TV channels.

Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar and many former army officers and one former defence secretary said there is no protocol that requires army to notify defence ministry about troop movement.

Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed Shekhar Gupta at 10 p.m. on CNN-IBN. When Rajdeep Sardesai questioned Shekhar Gupta about being pro-establishment and opposing Anna Hazare Group, Shekhar Gupta ludicrously replied that Anna Hazare Group were establishment at the time. That is like saying Mohandas Gandhi and others who fought for India’s independence were imperialists. Rajdeep Sardesai should have said establishment here means government of the day and questioned him further but he let it pass.

Shekhar Gupta said he cannot reveal his sources. He said his sources are credible. That is what Colin Powell said about his source when he made a presentation to UN Security Council about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That source was used as a reason for invasion of Iraq in 2003. That source, known as Curveball, denied everything in that presentation and said he was lying about WMDs and being an eye witness in an interview to Peter Taylor of BBC. Similarly a woman who claimed she was an eye witness when Iraqis took babies out of incubators in 1990 was Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter who was in Washington at the time Iraqis were accused of committing the crime. It seems one source is Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag, a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal. Other sources will be known in due course.

Shekhar Gupta said once he could not do a story about a corrupt judge and he gave to N. Ram of The Hindu. He had lot of whisky with someone at that time. Did Shekhar Gupta, Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta drink lot of whisky when they prepared the report on spook?

There is no investigative journalism, only leaks by interested parties.

PM called the report alarmist. DM called the report absolutely baseless. Gen. V. K. Singh said the report was absolutely stupid. Three weeks before the report, in an interview to The Week he had said people will come out with stories about troop movements being something else.

Two other things happened on 4/4/2012.

Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and three vice chiefs appeared before Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Shashi Kant Sharma said his early return from Malaysia was because of a case that was coming up before the Supreme Court next day.

A group of people moved the Supreme Court against the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief. Among members one is a former admiral (Ramdas), another a former CEC (N. Gopalaswami). How did these two come together?

DNA is silent after some revelations. Saikat Dutta had said he will come out with more letters. He had talked of a letter written in 2004 by Renuka Chowdhury who was tourism minister to Pranab Mukherjee who was defence minister against buying an artillery gun. After that no artillery gun was bought. As per one report PMO and Defence Ministry want to know from Saikat Dutta who leaked General’s letter to PM. Madhu Trehan said PMO and Defence Ministry know who leaked the letter but they want to hear from Saikat Dutta.

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