New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday heard the arguments in the criminal defamation case filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh against Army Chief Gen VK Singh and four other officials and inquired about the specific roles of the individuals named as accused in the complaint.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja, to whom the case was transferred by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal, fixed May 14 for concluding of arguments on summoning the Army Chief and four others as accused in the case.
During the hearing, the court inquired from Tejinder Singh about the role of each individual and asked if he has any other evidence against the officials apart from their reply to the legal notices sent by him.
"During the arguments, reference has been made to a number of documents including the Defence Technical Publicity Rules, 2004, framed by the Ministry of Defence.
"The documents and evidence of the witnesses require some reading. Put up for conclusion of arguments on the point of summoning on May 14," the magistrate said.
Besides the Army chief, Tejinder Singh has named Vice Chief of Army Staff SK Singh, Lt Gen B S Thakur (DG MI), Major General SL Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him.
Anil Kumar Aggarwal, the counsel appearing for Tejinder Singh, said the the Army Chief made a complaint to CBI that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to strike a defence deal on April 10 while the press release on the issue of `off-the air- monitoring` was made by the Army on March 5.
"Had there been any case or complaint or preliminary inquiry against me (Tejinder Singh) before March 5, then I would not have come here for the defamation case. There was nothing against me before March 5," the counsel said.
Referring to the provisions of Army Act, the counsel said a serving person cannot communicate with the media directly and if he has to pass on something, he has to do it through the Ministry of Defence.
The court asked Tejinder Singh when he was serving in the Army, whether he was indicted in any case or any preliminary inquiry was conducted upon him.
Tejinder Singh said no such inquiry was conducted against him and he was decorated twice with medals during his service.
The magistrate also asked the counsel why they have chosen the names of these five officials, including the Army chief, and not others.
To this, the counsel said Lt Col Hitten Sawhney, named as accused in the complaint, had emailed the press release to the media and they had named the officials as accused as per their hierarchy in the Army.
The case was transferred to Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja as the court which was earlier hearing the matter, had refused to proceed with it citing loss of confidence of Tejinder Singh`s counsel in it.
The court had earlier recorded Tejinder Singh`s statement and the pre-summoning evidence in support of his defamation complaint over a press release alleging he had offered a bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Ltd which supplies vehicles to BEML.
Tejinder Singh, a former Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency, had filed the defamation complaint against the Army Chief and four other Army officials rejecting the allegations that he had offered the bribe for clearing a deal for 600 "sub-standard" vehicles.