Jaitley asserted that intelligence agencies and the army have the right to conduct covert operations and these are above the scrutiny of Parliament or the judiciary. He accused the UPA government of deliberately leaking information of covert operations for its "narrow political interest", dealing a "setback" to counter insurgency operations.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha alleged that the government has gone public with these covert operations- be it the activities of the intelligence unit set up by Gen Singh or the Ishrat Jahan encounter case- to score points when faced with certain electoral defeat and has been unmindful of whether this will hurt the country.

"The hard fact is that in a country with serious security threats, the existence of these activities of intelligence agencies has to be strengthened. Intelligence agencies have to conduct various covert operations. And yet there has to be an element of deniability in the covert operations," Jaitley said.

The Opposition leader argued in an article released by the BJP that such activities are not admitted or talked about in the larger public interest.    "My charge against the UPA government is that for narrow political interest it has deliberately leaked out the covert operations in two cases thereby creating a serious set back to our counter insurgency operations," he said.

Referring to the findings of a Board of officials inquiry which reportedly indicts Gen Singh, Jaitley said the CBI cannot invoke its investigative jurisdiction to start investigating whether secret funds have been properly spent by the Intelligence Bureau, the R&AW or the Military Intelligence or by any other agency.

"All these activities are neither accountable to Parliament nor judicially justifiable. These are a part of the covert operations. The desirability and the appropriateness of these activities is a subject matter for the government of the day to decide," Jaitley said.

(Agencies)

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