Lt Gen Bhatia to probe MI unit set up by ex-chief Gen V K Singh
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The Army has appointed Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia to head a panel that will review the functioning and efficacy of a controversial Military Intelligence (MI) unit that gained notoriety following several allegations of irregularities and a recent case of espionage involving its head clerk.
Lt Gen Bhatia, who is currently the Director General Infantry, will head a panel of officers that will probe the functioning of the Technical Support Division (TSD) over the past two years, ever since it was set up by then Army chief Gen V K Singh.
A decision on the future of the unit — known as the dirty tricks department of the former Army chief that faced allegations ranging from illegal telephone interceptions to misusing resources and overspending secret funds — will be taken on the basis of the panel's recommendation.
While the panel will look at the overall functioning of the shadowy unit as well as its commanding officer, Col Munishwar Nath (Hunny) Bakshi, the Army is separately probing several questions that have been raised by the defence ministry on the alleged misuse of secret funds over the past year.
Sources said the move comes after initial inquiries pointed to several cases of irregularities. According to these sources, the TSD, which directly reported to Gen V K Singh, spent nearly Rs 20 crore in the past two years from secret funds that fall under the unaudited category.
As reported earlier, the defence ministry has put the Army's spending from secret intelligence funds in the last financial year under scrutiny after it found that Rs 57 crore was spent against the allotted amount of Rs 42 crore.
A scrutiny of internal records has revealed that the unit was raised on the instructions of Gen V K Singh and did not have any clear mandate or role within the MI. In fact, the unit did not even report to the MI chief, but got instructions and gave reports directly to the Army Chief's office. The unit contained as many as seven officers, whose roles too have come under the scanner.
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