Tejinder Singh had accused them of misusing their position

The former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, and four top serving Army officers, including Vice-Chief of the Army Staff Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, presented themselves before a court here on Friday after having been summoned in a case of criminal defamation. The court granted them bail after they furnished personal bonds of Rs. 20,000 each.

General (retd.) V.K. Singh, Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, Lt. Gen. B.S. Thakur (Director General of Military Intelligence), Major General S.L. Narasimhan (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt. Col. Hitten Sawhney appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja in the case filed by Lt. Gen. (retd.) Tejinder Singh.

The petitioner had accused the five of misusing their official position to tarnish his image through an Army release issued on March 5 that alleged that Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh offered a bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited.

The court said, “Since they are retired and serving officers, they are admitted to bail upon furnishing personal bonds in the sum of Rs. 20,000.”

It also asked complainant’s counsel S.M. Pandey to provide the former Army Chief copies of the complaint and other documents on or before August 8, next date of hearing.

Counsel for the four Army officers argued that no further proceedings should be conducted as no sanction was taken under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Mr. Pandey argued that it was not the official duty of the officers to facilitate the Army release.

Gen. V.K. Singh’s counsel Mohit Mathur argued for turning the summon case into a warrant case under Section 259. This was rejected by Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh’s counsel, who said that by asking the case to be turned into a warrant case, the “accused” just wanted to delay the matter.

The four officers also moved applications in regard to the above arguments. The judge asked the complainant’s counsel to reply to their applications by August 8. On June 8, he directed the former Army Chief and the four officers to appear before the court as “accused” in the present matter. He had said the complicity of the former Army Chief in the publication of the March 5 release was “prima facie deducible from the fact that he alone had knowledge of the offer of bribe made by the complainant.”

The bribe allegation had found mention in the release.

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