New Delhi, Mar 29: The war of attrition between the Army Chief and government showed no signs of abating with Gen VK Singh describing as "high treason" the leak of his letter on defence preparedness and the government promising that those responsible would be given "maximum punishment".
As Gen Singh's Mar 12 letter to Prime Minister in which he had complained about lack of defence preparedness continued to generate controversy, he issued a strongly worded statement in which he said the source of leak should be dealt with "ruthlessly".
In a brief statement released by Army Headquarters, Gen Singh, who is currently in Jammu and Kashmir, said his official communication with the Prime Minister and Defence Minister is "privileged" communication. "The leakage of the letter should be treated as high treason. Cynical approach to tarnish my reputation should stop. Sources of the leakage should be found and dealt with ruthlessly," said Singh, who is due to retire on May 31.
At a press conference in Delhi, Defence Minister A K Antony vowed to take the "strongest action" under laws against those responsible for the leak of Gen Singh's letter to the Prime Minister. He disclosed that the Intelligence Bureau has been asked to go into the leak of the letter and said the government will get to the root of it and find out the persons behind the "anti-national" act.
Maintaining that no patriotic Indian would indulge in leak of sensitive communication because it would only help the enemies, Antony said the report will be available at the earliest. "I assure you that we will not leave it there. We will make every possible attempt to find out the real culprits who have done this anti-national activity and they will be given the maximum punishment under the Indian Penal Code," he said.