Court summons former army chief in defamation case
New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) A Delhi court Friday issued summons to former army chief Gen. V.K. Singh in a defamation case filed by Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja issued summons for July 20 to V.K. Singh and four others in the defamation case. However, the court rejected the allegation of criminal conspiracy, saying that it was absurd.
'In the light of aforesaid discussion and the discussion in the order dated May 18, all the respondents are summoned as accused in the present matter,' said the court. The court added that a criminal conspiracy by respondents 'appears to be absurd and without any foundation'.
'The accused are only being summoned qua offence described under section 499 (defamation) read with section 35 (criminal intention) of the Indian Penal Code,' said the court.
Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh has requested the court to summon and initiate proceedings against the former army chief and others for allegedly making libellous statements against him in the media and accusing him of bribery.
Alleging that the officers misused their official position, power and authority to level false charges against him, Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh also named Army Vice Chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, Director General Military Intelligence Lt. Gen. B.S. Thakur, Additional Director General Public Information Major Gen. S.L. Narsimhan and Directorate General of Public Information Staff Officer Lt. Col. Hitten Sawhney.
The court while summoning the former Army chief and four others, observed that the approval of press release published March 5 was missing. The secretary, Ministry of Defence submitted June 6 documents related to publication of the said press release.
The court noted that the said documents did not contain any office noting or copy of any rule regarding approval of the press release by the chief of Army staff and others.
'On account of the absence of any such office noting or copy of any rule, the aforesaid testimony of the complainant has been believed at this stage, because being a former head of Military Intelligence, the complainant has knowledge to depose about practice and procedures being followed at the Army Headquarters regarding publications of communications like the press release,' said the court.
The court said that offer of bribe made by complainant to V.K. Singh would not have percolated down to the respondents, Narsimhan and Sawhney, if the former Army chief had not told them. The court observed that the statement made by Ministry of Defence undersecretary R. Sunder as a witness in the case, the complicity of V.K. Singh, S.K. Singh and Thakur are prima facie deducible from the use of words 'highest levels of army' in the publication of said press release followed by approval by a hierarchy.
The court said that after perusing the evidence brought on record during the recent court hearing, it has found sufficient material to proceed against all the respondents.
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