With Union Defence Minister A K Antony naming Lieutenant General (retd) Tejinder Singh in Parliament as the man who allegedly offered the Army Chief a bribe of Rs 14 crore in 2010 for clearing the purchase of sub-standard vehicles,Singh on Tuesday sued General V K Singh for defamation.
Filing a criminal complaint seeking summoning and prosecution of the Army Chief and four other officials,including the vice-chief of Army staff and director general of Military Intelligence,Tejinder Singh said that all of them had,in collusion,issued the press release on March 5-6 alleging that stories in the media about the unauthorised snooping of mobile phones of Defence Ministry officials were put out by him.
The press release contains ex-facie defamatory statements and allegations… which are entirely baseless,false and concocted. All allegations made and aspersions cast against the complainant are denied, says Tejinder Singhs petition,which is expected to come up for hearing on Thursday.
Singh claimed the Army Chief was also responsible for a media report in February about a bid to bribe him for a contract to procure heavy vehicles. The Lt General said this had caused him much social embarrassment. He specifically cited an incident when 10 fellow morning walkers had looked at him with disdain and referred to a news item showing him in bad light.
Singh also denied allegations regarding a flat allotted to him in Mumbais controversial Adarsh Housing Society,saying he was a mere allottee/buyer and had no connection with the management.
Till date,there is no official allegation against the complainant or any inquiry has been made in any scam and scandal relating to Adarsh,as being wrongly suggested in the press release, the Lt General argued.
According to Tejinder Singh,who held the post of director general of Defence Intelligence Agency between October 2008 and July 2010,the Army Chief had got the press release issued so as to clear his own name from the controversy over the snooping.
According to sources,Tejinder Singh may move a separate petition in the Delhi High Court asking why the Defence Ministry failed to take necessary action even though the press release was issued without authorisation.
Singhs plea seeks that the Army officers be summoned under Sections 211 (false charge of offence made with intent to injure) and 500 (defamation) along with Section 120B (criminal conspiracy). The maximum punishment under these penal provisions is two years in jail along with fine.
Speaking to The Indian Express,Tejinder said: Yes,I know what the Defence Minister said in Parliament today. However,he has also quoted General Singh,who is the fountain of all the allegations against me. I met General Singh in September 2010 for the last time and he has raised these allegations in 2012. Moreover,if there was any substance in the allegations,the matter should have been probed then itself.