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Official duty can`t be construed as an offence: Army officials

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 22:27

New Delhi: Three serving and a retired Army official, accused in a defamation case along with former Army Chief General V K Singh, on Tuesday argued in a Delhi court that no part of their official duty could be construed as an offence.

During arguments on a plea filed by the four accused, the then Vice Chief of Army S K Singh, retired Lt Gen B S Thakur (the then DG of Military Intelligence), Major Gen S L Narshiman (ADG of Public Information) and Col Hitten Sawhney, their counsel said whatever they had done was part of their official duties.

"No part of the official duty can be construed as an offences," their counsel said adding they were involved in official duties due to the hierarchical formation.

The court was hearing arguments on a plea filed by them under section 197 (2) of CrPC that the court should not take cognizance of the alleged offence without prior sanction of the government.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja has listed the plea for further arguments on October 22.

Their counsel had earlier argued government servant is answerable to the state for his acts, done in official capacity, and if he is asked to answer in a criminal case, sanction is required to be taken from the Centre.

Former Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh had filed a criminal defamation complaint against five persons, including V K Singh, alleging he was defamed by the Army through its press release issued on March 5 last year which accused him of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the then Army Chief to clear a deal of 600 trucks, a charge refuted by him.

On October 3, the court had warned V K Singh for making defamatory remarks against Tejinder Singh saying it would lead to cancellation of his bail granted earlier.

The magistrate had disposed of Tejinder`s plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to the former Army Chief but had issued certain directions saying V K Singh should "mend his ways and refrain from repeating defamatory remarks" against the complainant and not to use derogatory language about the court.

It had also dismissed a separate plea of Tejinder seeking withdrawal of exemption from appearance granted to the other four accused in the case.

First Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 22:27
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