An ex-Army Chief and four top serving officers, including the vice chief of Army staff, on Friday appeared before a Delhi court following summonses against them in a criminal defamation case and were granted bail.
Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh, Vice Chief of Army Staff SK Singh, Lt Gen BS Thakur (director general of military intelligence), Major General SL Narshiman (additional director general of public information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney appeared before the court in the case filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh.
All the five accused were granted bail by metropolitan magistrate Jay Thareja on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each.
In his complaint, Tejinder Singh has accused them of misusing their official position, power and authority to level false charges against him.
Thareja had on June 8 directed them to appear before him, saying they have been "summoned as accused in the present matter".
Tejinder Singh had filed the complaint alleging that he was defamed by the Army through its press release issued on March 5, which accused him of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the erstwhile Army Chief to clear a deal of 600 trucks, a charge refuted by him.
The court had earlier directed the defence ministry to place before it the file related to the issuance of the March 5 press release to ascertain whether or not the five persons accused of defaming Tejinder Singh had any role in it.
The press release had blamed Tejinder Singh, former chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency, and some disgruntled serving officers of the Military Intelligence of planting story in the media relating to purported tapping of some sensitive phones in the capital.
Earlier, the court had said that it was "prima facie" satisfied that the March 5 press release was "defamatory" as "ex-facie" serious allegation of "bribery" has been made against Tejinder Singh, who had a long and distinguished career in the Army.