New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Defence Ministry to provide "appropriate response" to Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh who took the RTI route to know about action taken against army officers allegedly involved in issuance of a defamatory press release against him.
Tejinder had filed a criminal defamation complaint against five persons, including the then army chief VK Singh, alleging he was defamed by the Army through its press release issued on March 5, 2012 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.
He has also given a representation to Defence Minister AK Antony on May 29, 2012 and July 18, 2012 seeking disciplinary proceedings against army officers allegedly involved in the press release.
The representations were filed following an order of the Delhi High Court wherein it directed the disciplinary authority to take action as per law while observing that action is part and parcel of the duty of the authority in case facts so warrant.
These representations were forwarded by the Defence Minister to Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh.
Through his RTI application dated January 24, Tejinder wanted to know what action has been taken by Singh on the representations.
The army said "As directed by the High Curt of Delhi, facts have been verified and findings thereof have been communicated to the Ministry of Defence."
The CIC directed army to transfer the application to Defence Ministry within five days.
"... The CPIO, Ministry of Defence shall then furnish an appropriate reply to the appellant corresponding to his RTI application within three weeks of the receipt of the RTI application," the CIC said.
Recently, a city court directed Tejinder Singh to approach the Centre on the issue and clarified that if the government fails to grant or refuse sanction to prosecute the accused within the stipulated three-four months, then the permission would be deemed to have been granted.
"In the light of the aforesaid, the applications filed by accused persons are allowed to the extent that the complainant (Tejinder) is directed to approach the Central Government and obtain sanction under section 197(2) of CrPC to prosecute the accused persons," Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja had said.
All the five accused had appeared before the court on July 20 last year in response to the summonses issued against them. They were granted bail by the court on that day.
In his complaint, Tejinder accused them of misusing their official position, power and authority to level false charges against him.
The press release had accused Tejinder, former chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency, and some serving officers of the Military Intelligence of planting a story in the media relating to purported tapping of some sensitive phones in the national capital.
The court had said 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 who had a long and distinguished career in the Army.