Former Chief of the Army Staff General V K Singh was Monday granted exemption from personally appearing in the court for hearings in the defamation case filed against him and four other senior Army officials till further orders by a city court,which observed that his appearance along with his supporters in the court results in general disruption of court proceedings.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja,who on previous occasions had censured Singhs advocates,allowed the application for exemption,but cautioned the lawyers that he had not been granted permanent exemption.
Gen V K Singh is facing a criminal defamation case along with Vice Chief of Army S K Singh,Lt Gen B S Thakur (Director General of Military Intelligence),Major General S L Narasimhan (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Colonel Hitten Sawhney for their alleged defamation of Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh by wrongfully accusing him of corruption.
He had filed the application for exemption from appearance on October 8 last year,and then again on July 21 this year.
The appearance of accused number one (V K Singh) is inconsequential for the proceedings of this court and the fact that the experience of this court has been that the appearance of accused number one (along with his supporters) in the court results in general disruption of court proceedings and consequent heated arguments amongst the advocates,the accused number one is granted exemption from appearance till further order of this court, the court said.
V K Singh had sought permanent exemption from appearance before the court on ground of parity as the other four accused three serving Army officials and one retired Army officer have already been granted the relief. However,Tejinder Singhs advocate Anil K Aggarwal had opposed the plea stating that Gen V K Singh as a retired officer did not have a right to remain absent from court proceedings.
In his complaint,Tejinder Singh had alleged he was defamed by the Army through its press release issued on March 5 last year which accused him of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the then Army Chief to clear a deal of 600 trucks,a charge refuted by him. All the five accused had appeared before the court on July 20 last year in response to the summonses issued against them. In his complaint,Tejinder Singh has accused them of misusing their official position,power and authority to level false charges against him.