Indian Army Chief General V K Singh has lambasted the the Indian Express report earlier this week that claimed that two Army units made an "unauthorised" advances towards the New Delhi on the night of Jan 16.
Calling the report "fables of a sick mind", the General, in an interview to the The Hindu newspaper published on Saturday, said that the report was "absurd and deplorable".
Speaking to the daily, the Army Chief said that there was no requirement to "notify" the government about the movement since it was a "routine exercise" and specifically rejected any link between the troop exercises and his legal tussle with the government over his date of birth.
Singh said the civilian government had not asked for a clarification when the "troop movement" issue came to light, saying "It was not as if the whole of the armoured division was marching towards Delhi. This is just a figment of imagination."
"It is the rogue elements of the bureaucracy who want to blow things up. The Army is the upholder of the country´s values. Those who think differently about the Army need their heads examined and are the biggest anti-nationals," he told newspaper.
Earlier, it emerged that the army chief had hinted last month that in the midst of the raging controversies surrounding him, there would be attempts to misconstrue even routine military exercises as something suspicious.
The statement was an unusually accurate forewarning of the latest row involving him, sparked by a report published in The Indian Express newspaper that claimed that the country's government was alarmed after two military units were unexpectedly moved towards New Delhi in January.
Speaking to the The Week magazine during an interview on March 13, Singh had apparently predicted such the controversy when he said that even if the Army conducted an exercise some people with "nefarious aims" would say that it "wanted to something else".
"Even, let us say one of our corps or divisions or brigades does exercise, somebody will say, oh! they did exercise. It was not an exercise, they wanted to do something else.
"Now you will make a story out of it. There are lots of people who want to make stories these days for various nefarious aims, if I can put it like that," he had said.
Today bad news is good news for a journalist, while good news is no news, a normal thing, the army chief apparently said, adding that "if somebody any doubt, they should come and face us. They won´t because they know they are wrong."
The Indian Express on Wednesday said that the government, which was locked in arguments with Singh, was "spooked" after intelligence agencies reported that a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar had moved in the direction of the national capital.
The January 16-17 incident was followed by the advancement of the 50th Para Brigade based at Agra, towards New Delhi on the same night, the paper said, noting that the movements came at a time when the army chief and the government were fighting in court over the former´s date of birth.
V K Singh on Thursday called the report "absolutely stupid", a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also called it "alarmist" and the government issued a firm rebuttal saying that the report had created "unnecessary alarm" and lacked credence.