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Updated: June 9, 2012 02:04 IST

Summons issued to V.K. Singh in defamation case

Jiby Kattakayam
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Former Army Chief Gen. V. K. Singh. File photo: Sandeep Saxena
The Hindu
Former Army Chief Gen. V. K. Singh. File photo: Sandeep Saxena

The former Army Chief, General (Retired) V.K. Singh, and four serving Army officers were on Friday summoned by a court here to face charges of criminal defamation on a complaint by retired Lieutenant-General Tejinder Singh who alleged that a press release issued by Army Headquarters on March 5 tarnished his reputation.

The other four accused persons who have been summoned are Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt. General S. K. Singh, Director-General of Military Intelligence Lt. General B.S. Thakur, Additional Director-General of Public Information in the Army Headquarters Major General S. L. Narasimhan, and an officer in the Public Information Department Colonel Hitten Sawhney. They will have to appear before the court on July 20.

However, Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja ruled out the charge of criminal conspiracy that Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh wanted slapped on the five accused persons. “It is made clear that the accused are not being summoned qua the allegation of hatching a criminal conspiracy against the complainant. Upon appreciating the entire evidence/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 described under Section 499 (defamation) read with Section 35 (an act which becomes criminal because it was done with criminal knowledge or intention and each person involved in the act becomes equally liable) of the Indian Penal Code,” Mr. Thareja said.

The court said the complicity of the former Army Chief, who retired on May 31, in the publication of the March 5 press release was “prima facie deducible from the fact that he alone had knowledge about the offer of bribe made by the complainant.” The bribe allegation had found mention in the press release.

The court further added: “Without him [V.K. Singh] having told the respondents 4 and 5 (Narasimhan and Sawhney) or any other person about the offer of bribe made by the complainant, the defamatory information about the complainant offering a bribe would not have percolated down to the respondents 4 and 5.”

Referring to a letter written by Defence Ministry official R. Sunder stating that the press release was issued after obtaining approval at the “highest levels in the army,” the court said the complicity of the former Army Chief, V.K. Singh, Vice-Chief S.K. Singh and Military Intelligence head B.S. Thakur was also “prima facie deducible” from this.

The court further relied on the testimony of complainant Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh who had deposed that communications like the March 5 press release are “issued following approval by a hierarchy” comprising the Chief of Army Staff, Vice-Chief, Head of Military Intelligence and Head of Public Information.

With the Defence Ministry's files not having any office notings approving the press release, the court said the testimony of Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh “has been believed at the stage, because being a former Head of Military Intelligence, the complainant has knowledge/foundation to testify/depose about practice and procedures being followed at the Army Headquarters regarding publication of communications like the press release dated March 5.”

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So what?.The Indian courts have no expertise in defamation cases.Whether to summon the respondent(Gen Singh),initially the court was not clear.The public should be very clear.How many Judgments of the defamation by Indian courts are available?. This is a civil matter and to come out of the appeal will take 30 years. By that time both Generals will be at VEER SWARG!

Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 21:54 IST

wait for truth

from:  pankaj singh
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 21:06 IST

Citations for our ex-Army Chief are accumulating day by day. 1)The infamous d.o.b. case from which he beat a hasty retreat before the apex court. 2) The secret , leaky letter to the PM, bypassing the Defence Minister, stating the army is without arms and ammunition. A truly treasonable act, which would have jeopardised the country's security. 3)Just on the last day in service, he charge-sheeted the next-in- line(after his successor) to the top post. The action has been now nullified by his successor. 4) Defaming BEML, saying Tatra trucks were substandard, having never made any complaints against it, and now facing one more defamation case. 5)And this 14 cr bribery charge against Tejinder Singh, which he refused to give in writing to the Defence Minister nor took any action on his own. Cheers, Vijay Kumar Singh!!''

from:  G. Radhakrishnan
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 20:50 IST

The Chair one occupies matters. Once you are out of it (though you may add ex so and so Retd.) you become aam admi. Understand. You plot something against someone when you were in authority now you have to pay for the misdeeds.

from:  Mani Iyer
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 20:15 IST

Harassment of yet another anti-corruption crusader has started. Cong/UPA will do everything to demoralize an opponent.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 18:51 IST
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