New Delhi: Furious over demands for his dismissal, Army Chief Gen V K Singh on Thursday called for a “ruthless action” against the leak of his letter to the Prime Minister presenting a gloomy picture of the force's defence preparedness. He said, the glitch must be treated as "high treason" and the source of leakage must be dealt ruthlessly.

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The Army Chief’s statement to trace the source of the leak came even as Defence sources said that Intelligence Bureau has been asked to inquire into leakage of the letter to the media.
     
As tensions between him and the government rose over the leak of his official letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Gen Singh hit back saying a "cynical approach" to tarnish his reputation should stop.
     

In a brief statement released by Army Headquarters, Gen Singh, who is currently in Jammu and Kashmir to pray at the Vaishno Devi shrine, further said his official communication with the Prime Minister and Defence Minister is "privileged" communication.
     
"The leakage of the letter should be treated as high treason. Cynical approach to tarnish my reputation should stop. Sources of the leakage should be found and dealt with ruthlessly," said Singh, who is due to retire on May 31.
    
Singh's leaked letter led to demands by SP, JD(U) and RJD for his dismissal on Wednesday even as Government and Opposition were agreed his concerns should not have come out in the open.
    
There was a strong demand to launch an investigation in how the letter was leaked to the media. It was also felt that the Army Chief should have first raised his concerns on the risk to the country's security directly with the Defence Minister. The General was also accused of breach of discipline.
     
The media leak of the letter came on top of an acrimony between the Army Chief and the government since early this week over his media interview in which he had claimed that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by a retired Lt Gen for swinging a sub-standard defence deal.
   
"I have made serious note of the observations. After consulting the Prime Minister and colleagues, we will take appropriate action," Antony said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after members expressed serious concerns over issues of national security.

(JPN/Agencies)