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Ex-chief of army's secret spying unit gets security cover

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 - 7:05am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

The Commanding Officer of the controversial secret military intelligence unit — Technical Support Division (TSD) — set up in 2010 by the then army chief, Gen VK Singh, has been given security cover by the Army as he was facing "threats" from various terrorist groups against whom he carried out operations.

According a top army sources, Colonel Munishwar Nath Bakshi, popularly known as "Hunny Bakshi" in the army, who was spearheading the secret spying unit, was given a cover of three personal security officers 24X7. Wife of Colonel Bakshi had written to defence minister AK Antony a few months ago by claiming that there is a threat to his life from various terrorist groups based in cross-border and intelligence agencies of Pakistan.

In her communication to the ministry, she had mentioned that her family feared a serious threat after the director general military operations' report about the activities of secret spying unit was leaked out. The board of officers, headed by the then DGMO Vinod Bhatia, had submitted its report which contained information about the anti-terror operations conducted by the unit when it was operational and also pointed to the several covert operations conducted on foreign soil by TSD.

However, the unit was closed down by army chief General Bikram Singh soon after taking over in May 2012.

Col Bakshi, an Intelligence Corps officer, is at present posted as an additional officer in Bangalore sub-area, which comes under the Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala (ATNK&K) General Area.
"Southern Command has given him the security cover after a nod from the Army headquarters,"an officer said.

Recently, Colonel Bakshi had asked for voluntary retirement (pre-mature retirement-PMR) from the service by citing personal and health grounds. But, his plea was turned down by the army headquarters.
But, army sources maintained that it is very unusual that an army officer posted in peace area is getting a security cover.

"It is very unusual. We all have served in insurgency areas and had carried out various operations during our stint. But, we never ask for security cover from the government," an officer told dna.

TSD has been in controversy over the alleged use of off-the-air-interceptors to illegally monitor conversations of the top defence brass during the height of row over Gen VK Singh's age. The unit has also been accused by an army report of making attempts to destabilise the J&K government and carrying out unauthorised operations in and outside India.

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