Delhi Court takes cognizance of defamation case against Army Chief

“I have heard arguments. I take cognizance. Put up for recording of pre-summoning evidence on April 10,” the magistrate said.

Written by Jayant Sriram | New Delhi | Published: March 30, 2012 12:46 am

A Delhi court on Thursday took cognizance of a criminal defamation complaint filed by Lt General (retired) Tejinder Singh against Army Chief V K Singh and four other top officers. The court of metropolitan magistrate Sudesh Kumar now put up the matter for pre-summoning evidence on April 10.

“I have heard arguments. I take cognizance. Put up for recording of pre-summoning evidence on April 10,” the magistrate said.

During the hearing Tejinder Singh reiterated many of the points outlined in his complaint filed before the court two days ago. He said that between March 1 and March 4,several media reports had emerged with allegations of off-the-air monitoring of call records of senior officials. “Suddenly,on 5th March,the Media Cell of the Army,in a press release,made several allegations against me…These are absolutely untrue,I’ve never been questioned for the purchase of off-the-air monitoring systems,” he told the court.

Besides General V K Singh,Tejinder Singh in his complaint has also named Vice-Chief of Army Staff S K Singh,Lt Gen B S Thakur (DG MI),Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney. The complaint alleges that all four misused their official positions and powers to level false charges against him.

When asked by the magistrate why he had made five persons accused in the case,Tejinder Singh said the press release issued by the officials was illegal and that they were not authorised to address the media directly.

“The press release does not carry the official masthead that is required. And the tenor of the language is not official. The government is not supposed to make such allegations without conducting a probe,without giving him (Tejinder) a chance to answer,” he told the court. He added that if the officials were acting under the guise of official duty then it must be looked at as malafide intention,which was sufficient basis for a criminal case.

He said it was also alleged that he had purchased a flat in Mumbai’s Adarsh Society and had offered a bribe to the Army Chief for swinging a defence deal in favour of a private firm,both of which were false. “I am a member in Adarsh Society but there are other 102 allottees and no investigation or FIR has been registered against me. I am only a simple investor,” he told the court.

Regarding the bribe offer,Singh’s counsel Anil Aggarwal said the allegations were vague and that earlier it was said that the Army Chief was offered a Rs 50 crore bribe but later General V K Singh said it was Rs 14 crore.

Army chief visits 2 LoC posts

On the last day of his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir,Army Chief General V K Singh on Thursday visited two forward defence locations to review the operational preparedness of troops along the LoC in Jammu region.

Though there had been no official word from the Army about the visit,sources said that he spent nearly one hour each at Gulpur post in Poonch and Ranjli Dhara post in Nowshera sector.

He interacted with jawans posted there,enquiring about the situation vis-a-vis infiltration attempts from the side of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the difficulties faced by them.

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