The Defence Ministry has asked the Army to explain the functioning of its public information set-up, including the authorisation for the March 5 statement that contained allegations against Lt. Gen. (retd.) Tejinder Singh.
Sources in the Ministry said a formal communication was sent to the Army's Additional Director-General (Public Information), whose release has been the basis of Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh's missive to the Ministry through his lawyer, Anil Aggarwal.
The ADG (PI) is headed by an officer of the rank of Major General.
The lawyer has posed five questions, including whether Lt. Col. Hitten Sawhney, GSO1 Media at the Army Headquarters (AHQ), is authorised to issue statement or whether the Ministry's Public Relations Department has the sole authority to issue such communication.
He sought to know whether the release was issued after approval by the official public relations department, the duties and function of the Directorate of Public Information of the AHQ and whether it was authorised to issue the said release. He also wanted to know whether all communications by the Ministry and the Army were released only through the Press Information Bureau and in case the AHQ was not authorised to issue the said press release, what action was taken against the Army officers responsible for and involved in its release for “abuse of their office power and position.”
The notice to the Ministry said that in the March 5 release, “serious and false” allegations were specifically levelled against Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh and that it was not only “ex-facie defamatory and malicious,” but also impinged on and harmed the former Army officer's reputation and dignity. Sources in the Ministry said the Army had been asked to respond to the issues raised in this communication from the lawyer.