Troop movement row: Antony downplays Manish Tewari’s claim

Thiruvananthapuram : With former information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari reviving the 2012 troop movement controversy, former defence minister and Congress veteran A.K. Antony on Sunday reiterated that it was a ‘routine exercise’ to check operational preparedness.

“I’ve already spoken in Parliament regarding this issue. Please see my previous comments,” he told ANI in a telephonic conversation.

The Defence Ministry had in April 2012 emphasised that the movement of troops in January that year was part of a routine exercise to check operational preparedness and dismissed the media report on it as being based on ‘wrong inferences, surmises and conjectures’.

Antony, who was then the country’s Defence Minister, informed the Parliament that the government did not take any action to fix responsibility since it was a routine movement.

“Mobilisation forms an important facet of training and is considered a critical performance parameter. These are carried out in a routine manner by various formations/units and do not require any formal notification,” he said.

Tewari had yesterday brushed aside allegations that the news item published on April 4, 2012, was fake.

“At that time, I used to serve in the standing committee of defence. And it is unfortunate, but the story was true. The story was correct,” he said at an event in Delhi.

The Indian Express had on April 4, 2012, reported that late on the night of January 16, 2012 (the day then Army Chief General V.K. Singh approached the Supreme Court on his date of birth issue), central intelligence agencies reported an unexpected (and non-notified) movement by a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar (Haryana) as a part of the 33rd Armoured Division (which is a part of 1 Corps, a strike formation based in Mathura and commanded by Lt Gen. A K Singh) in the direction of the capital, 150 km away. (ANI)