New Delhi: Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh and four top serving officers were on Friday summoned as "accused" in a criminal defamation case filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh.
Besides Gen VK Singh, the other four named in the complaint and have been summoned are Vice Chief of Army Staff SK Singh, Lt Gen BS Thakur (DGMI), Major General S L 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.
A Delhi Court directed them to appear before it on July 20.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said all the five have been "summoned as accused in the present matter".
The court, however, said the summons are only for the alleged offence of defamation as the allegation of hatching a criminal conspiracy appears to be "absurd".
"However, it is made clear that the accused are not being summoned qua the allegation of hatching a criminal conspiracy against the complainant (Tejinder Singh).
"Upon appreciating the entire evidence and material produced before this court, the allegation regarding hatching of a criminal conspiracy by respondents appears to be absurd and without any foundation.
"The accused are only being summoned qua offence as described under section 499 (defamation) read with section 35 (act done with criminal knowledge or intention) of the IPC," the Magistrate said.
The court had reserved its order for today after going through the file related to the issuance of the March 5 press release which had accused Tejinder Singh of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the erstwhile Army chief.
The file was submitted to the court by Defence Ministry`s Under Secretary R Sunder. The court had also recorded recently his statement during an in-camera proceeding in which he said some of the documents placed were "privileged."
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja`s order on summoning the former Army chief and four others was based on a complaint filed by Tejinder Singh in which he had said he was defamed by the Army through its press release issued on March 5.
The court had earlier said it would pass an order only after going through the file relating to the publication of the Army`s March 5 press release in which Tejinder Singh was accused of offering a bribe to the former Army Chief.
The court had earlier 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 Singh, who had a long and distinguished career in the Army.
Besides VK Singh, Tejinder Singh has also named Vice Chief of Army Staff SK Singh, Lt Gen BS 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.
With PTI Inputs