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Defamation plea against Army chief: Court verdict on Thursday

Last updated on: April 25, 2012 20:23 IST

A Delhi court is likely to deliver its verdict on Thursday on summoning Army Chief Gen V K Singh and four others, named as accused in a criminal defamation case by former Lt Gen Tejinder Singh.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar would pronounce the order on the plea of Tejinder Singh, who had already recorded his statement and pre-summoning evidence in support of his complaint and had denied having made Rs 14 crore bribe offer to the Army chief to strike a defence deal.

The court had on April 10 reserved its order on Tejinder Singh's complaint for April 21 but the magistrate did not hold proceedings on that day as he was attending a training session and the case was listed for hearing before another magistrate, who had reserved the order for Thursday.

Tejinder Singh, a former director general of Defence Intelligence Agency, had filed defamation complaint against the Army chief and four other Army officials trashing the allegations that he had offered the bribe for clearing a deal for 600 "sub-standard" vehicles.

Besides the Army chief, he has 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 posted in the media cell, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him.

Tejinder Singh had contended that all the five officers formed a direct chain of command with the Army chief being the final arbiter.

During the last hearing, he had said that the allegation against him of having offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Ltd, which supplies vehicles to BEML was absolutely "false, ill-founded and concocted."

Tejinder Singh had told the court that between March 3 and 5 this year, a number of media reports alluded to the Army chief having allegedly ordered "unlawful monitoring" of mobiles, particularly in the South Block area.

In order to divert the public attention from this news, which pointed fingers at senior functionaries in the Army Headquarters, including Gen V K Singh, the media cell of the Army Headquarters issued a press release on March 5, he had said, adding he was named in the press release without any proper legal sanction.

The Army chief had in response to the legal notice by Tejinder Singh told him that he was ready to substantiate the allegations in the court.

Tejinder Singh had said the press release, taking his name, laid four allegations against him which were "false".

He had said the allegation that he was questioned earlier on the purchase of off-the-air monitoring system without sanction by the competent authority was also false.

Regarding the allegation that he was an allottee in the Mumbai's Adarsh housing society, Tejinder Singh had said that he was a "bonafide allottee" and no case exists against him.

The court had also recorded the statements of former Army Major R S Sahrawat, Bhupender Chaudhary, cousin of Tejinder Singh, and one Suman Chaudhary, who said he knew the former Lt Gen for the last 40 years.

The Army chief had claimed in media interviews that a lobbyist, who had "just" retired, offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a file relating to purchase of a tranche of 600 "sub-standard" vehicles of a particular make and he had immediately informed Defence Minister A K Antony about it.

The Army chief, however, did not want to pursue the matter for unknown reasons, the minister had said.

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