Congress' Manish Tewari Revives 2012 Troop Movement Controversy

Congress' Manish Tewari Revives 2012 Troop Movement Controversy

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Manish Tewari has said the 2012 troop movement report published in The Indian Express was "unfortunate but true."

New Delhi:  Congress leader and former minister Manish Tewari has once again revived the controversy over a 2012 newspaper report that said that the Army moved two units towards Delhi in January that year without informing the government.

Mr Tewari, who was the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting in the UPA government between 2012 and 2014, has said the report published in The Indian Express was "unfortunate but true."

"At that point of time, I used to serve in the standing committee on defence...It is unfortunate, but the story was the best of my knowledge, that story was correct," he said at a book launch event in Delhi on Saturday.

In a strong snub to Mr Tewari, his party has said it "clearly and categorically" denies the report. "I wish to clarify that since my colleague was not a member of the relevant decision making body, it was completely wrong to make such a comment," Congress' Abhishek Manu Singhvi has said.

According to an Indian Express report dated April 4, 2012, the government was "spooked" on the night of January 16-17, 2012, because central intelligence agencies reported that military units from Hisar and Agra had moved in the direction of the capital. The paper claimed the movement caused some concern within the government.

The alleged movement took place at a time when union minister and former army chief General VK Singh was locked in an open confrontation with the government in a row over his age. But General Singh had in 2012 dismissed the report as "absolutely stupid."

Today, he attacked Mr Tewari and said "he has no work these days." "He should read my book, it will reveal everything," he added.

In response, Mr Tewari tweeted:
Speaking to NDTV, former Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express, Shekhar Gupta, said the story "did not need vindication. Everybody knew what the truth was."

The Army had said in 2012 that the units were moved to check response time and preparedness during the January fog. AK Antony, who was the Defence Minister in 2012, had rubbished the reports as "absolutely baseless."

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