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‘Disgusting’, ‘Skullduggery’, ‘Tricks’: How Veterans Described ANI’s Lies About Lt Gen (Retd) Naidu

ANI had quoted him saying, "My consent has not been taken for any such letter, and neither have I written any such letter.”

“No, my consent has not been taken for any such letter, and neither have I written any such letter.”

Asian News International, better known as ANI, in a recent report quoted former Army Vice Chief, Lt General ML Naidu, as saying this in regards to a letter signed by over 150 veterans — including three former Army chiefs, four former Navy chief and a former Air Force chief. These veterans had written to President Ram Nath Kovind, slamming the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party’s politicisation of the armed forces and its “unusual and completely unacceptable practice” of taking credit for military operations.

ANI completely fabricated Lt General (Retd.) Naidu’s quote.

In a trail of emails accessed by NewsCentral24x7, Lt General (Retd.) Naidu told fellow veterans — who had expressed concerns over media reports about him withdrawing support from the letter — that this was untrue.

Also read: Unprecedented Crisis: Over 150 Veterans Incl. 8 Former Chiefs Write To President, Slam Politicisation Of Forces

He wrote to Maj General (Retd.) SG Vombatkere, saying: “Yesterday, I was informed by friends that I am being quoted by the visual media. Especially ANI. No one had contacted me. Finally, ANI called up in the afternoon and sent their team for “sound-bites”. I am attaching the same.”

In the clip accessed by NewsCentral24x7 which captures the former Lt General’s conversations with an ANI correspondent, the veteran has nowhere said he did not consent to the letter. What more, in the emails accessed by NewsCentral24x7, Lt General (Retd.) Naidu clearly wrote to Maj General (Retd.) Vombatkere, “I endorse the appeal to the Supreme Commander, President Ram Nath Kovind-ji.”

In an interview with Rohit David for DailyO, Lt General (Retd.) Naidu further said, “The letter speaks about politicisation, it does not say anything else. There is no breast-beating, nothing at all… I have endorsed it, I’m not denying that.”

All of this goes against what ANI quoted him as saying — “my consent has not been taken for any such letter”.

In his emails to Admiral (Retd.) Laxminarayan Ramdas, who had initially written to veterans asking them to be signatories in the letter to the President, Maj General (Retd.) Vombatkere called ANI‘s report “skulduggery”.

Major (Retd) Priyadarshi Chowdhury, in the trail of emails, wrote, “This is disgusting and entails everything that is wrong with this set up (sic). They can stoop to any levels for their narrow political aims.

In their letter to the President, the veterans had written “With the General Elections round the corner, and given the prevailing environment where political parties and candidates seem to be acting in total disregard of the declaration of the ‘model code of conduct’, we fear that such incidents may only increase as polling day draws near.”

They had also urged the President to take “all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas.”

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