New Delhi: A local court Thursday warned former Army Chief General V K Singh for making defamatory remarks against Lt Gen (Retd) Rpt Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh, who had filed a criminal defamation case against him and four others, saying it would lead to cancellation of his bail granted earlier.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja disposed of the plea of Tejinder Singh seeking cancellation of bail granted to the former Army Chief but issued certain directions saying V K Singh should "mend his ways and refrain from repeating the defamatory remarks" against the complainant and not to use derogatory language about the court.
"I deem it apposite not to cancel bail of accused no.1 (V K Singh) at this stage and give the accused no.1 a reasonable opportunity to mend his ways and refrain from repeating the defamatory remarks against the complainant and using derogatory language in respect of courts.
"It is clarified that in case in the future, if the accused no 1 indulges in repeating the defamatory remarks against the complainant or use of derogatory language in respect of this court, then this court would be constrained to take a stricter view of the matter and cancel the bail of the accused no.1," the magistrate said.
The court also dismissed a separate plea of Tejinder Singh seeking withdrawal of exemption from appearance granted to the other four accused in the case.
Tejinder had lodged a criminal defamation case against V K Singh, the then Vice Chief of Army S K Singh, retired Lt Gen B S Thakur (then Director General of Military Intelligence), Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Colonel Hitten Sawhney.
In his complaint, he had alleged that 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.
The court in its order also referred to the transcripts of an interview given to a TV channel by V K Singh and said, "I find that a compelling case for cancelling the bail of accused no.1 is made out....Because he has repeated the defamatory remarks against the complainant and used derogatory language in respect of this court."
It also said that the remarks against the court was made by V K Singh without being provoked by host of the TV news channel.
It also referred to a 1993 Supreme Court judgement in which the apex court had observed that rejection of bail and cancellation of bail stand on a different footing and the order of cancellation of bail being a harsher order should not be resorted to except in extraordinary circumstances.
While dismissing separate plea of Tejinder Singh seeking withdrawal of exemption from appearance granted to the other four accused in the case, the court said there were no sufficient grounds to do so.
"In my view, the non-appearance of any authorised advocate on behalf of the accused no 2-5 on July 20, 2013, is not a sufficient ground to withdraw the exemption granted to accused no 2-5 vide order dated September 19, 2012.
"Also in my view, the retirement of accused no 3 (B S Thakur) from the Indian Army is not a sufficient ground to withdraw the exemption granted....," it said.
Tejinder Singh had contended that V K Singh had levelled defamatory allegations against him in an interview given to a news channel and the former Army Chief had then repeated it again in an another interview given recently.
He had also claimed that V K Singh had cast certain aspersions on the court which should be treated as "contempt of court" and these were grounds enough to cancel his bail.
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 has 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.