Jammu: Serious differences have surfaced between the ruling alliance partners in Jammu and Kashmir over whether an arrest warrant should be issued against former Indian Army chief V.K. Singh.

Three members of the privileges committee of the state legislative council belonging to the National Conference (NC) walked out of a meeting Wednesday after Congress members of the committee questioned the legality of the NC’s demand to issue an arrest warrant against V.K. Singh.

Singh did not appear before the privileges committee Wednesday, ignoring its summons for the second time.

Jugal Kishore Sharma, who heads the privileges committee, Thursday referred to Amrit Malhotra, legislative council chairman, the legality of issuing an arrest warrant against the former army chief.

The committee’s Congress member, Ravinder Sharma questioned the legality of the committee itself and said as per the rules the privileges committee can have only five members while the present panel has six members.

The legislative council chairman said Thursday he will examine  the legality of both the proposed issuance of warrants against V.K. Singh and the constitution of the privileges committee and then deliver his verdict.

NC legislator and privileges committee member Devender Kumar Raina is at the forefront of the party’s attack against the Congress for allegedly shielding the former Indian Army chief.

Raina is the provincial president of the NC and was the political advisor to the chief minister before his present assignment in the party.

Legal experts have said that since the date of his appearance has already expired and V.K. Singh has not responded to the summions, unless a fresh decision is taken by the privileges committee, the former army chief is not legally obliged to appear before it.

V.K. Singh had ruffled many a feather in the political circles of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere by claiming in his statement last year that mainstream politicians, including ministers and legislators, of Jammu and Kashmir had been receiving payments from the army’s secret funds.

The former army chief later said he was misquoted on this and declined having made any such comment.

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