New Delhi: The Congress party on Sunday was quick to distance itself from the comments of its senior leader and former Union minister Manish Tewari who had revived the 2012 troop movement controversy by saying that media reports claiming that two key army units moved towards Delhi without notifying the then party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was “unfortunate but true".

“…I would wish to clarify that since my colleague was neither a member of the cabinet committee on security nor of any of the any of the relevant decision making body, it was inappropriate, unnecessary and completely wrong to suggest that there was truth in those allegations when made. I want to re-iterate that and wish to request and advice on behalf of the Congress party that such remarks and observations in respect of which he is neither the authorized spokesperson of the party nor the spokesperson of foreign or defence affairs, nor privy to any of the relevant committees and decision making groups should have been and should be in the future completely avoided," Abhishek Manusinghvi, senior party leader and spokesperson told reporters on Sunday morning.

“When this alleged incident regarding the Army is suppose to have taken place, senior ministers had then clarified and I am again clarifying that there is absolutely no truth in the allegation or the insinuation or the innuendo in respect to which we have heard again today. Infact, it was also clarified that some troop movements are a necessary, inbuilt and inevitable part of the defence mechanism but to read into it all the other elements, is completely wrong and misconceived," he added.

During a book release function on Saturday, Tewari said: “At that point of time I used to serve in the standing committee on defence. And it’s unfortunate but the story was true. Story was correct…I am not getting into an argument. All I am saying is that to the best of my knowledge that story was correct."

The Indian Express in a front page news report in April 2012 had said that said two key army units had moved towards Delhi on the night of 16 January without notifying the administration, causing alarm in the highest echelons of the executive. The UPA government as well as former army chief and now Union minister V.K. Singh, had then had squarely denied the allegations.

On Sunday, Singh lashed out on Tewari and said that Tewari “has no work these days."

This is not the first time since Tewari has got into a verbal squabble within his own party. In September, 2014 party’s then communications department incharge, Ajay Maken had to put out a tweet saying only “authorized spokesperson" could speak on the party’s behalf. Maken’s directive came soon after Tewari made a statement saying that there was no constitutional or legal bar on appointment of former chief justice P. Sathasivam as Kerala governor.

PTI contributed to the story.

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