Telephone tapping : Army chief terms it as fiction

Hyderabad: Reacting sharply to reports that he had deployed interceptors for clandestinely listening to important phone conversations, Army chief General V K Singh today dismissed them as "fiction" and hit out at the media.

"Fiction does not require any reaction. If people concoct stories and some of the irresponsible editors allow those stories to get published, I don`t think it requires any reaction," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a book release function.

An anonymous detailed complaint received by the government in recent days lists several allegations against the Army chief, including possible misuse of off-the-air interceptors to listen in on phone conversations in the national capital.

The complaint says the deployment was part of an effort to eavesdrop on conversations between key people who may have decided the government strategy on Gen Singh`s age issue.

Asked about his letter to the Defence Ministry over shortage of ammunition in the Army, Gen Singh said he had apprised the ministry about the status of various inventories.

"The Raksha Rajya Mantri is aware. Our efforts in the last two years have been to ensure that the operational preparedness of the Army improves. In that there are a large number of measures. Periodically, we have been apprising the ministry as to how things are going, what are the shortages and what action needs to be done," he said. Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju was by Gen Singh`s side when the General talked to the media.