Direction comes on a petition by Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh
The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Defence Ministry to inform it by April 27 whether a press release, issued on behalf of the Army denying its role in the alleged bugging of Defence Minister A.K. Antony's office in South Block, was given by the competent authority or somebody else not authorised to do it.
Justice Mukta Gupta issued the direction on a petition by Lieutenant General (retired) Tejinder Singh, who wanted the Ministry to disown and withdraw the release and take disciplinary action against the Army officer or officers responsible for it as it contained defamatory references to him.
In the release, bearing the signature of army officer Hitten Sawhney and emailed to various defence correspondents on March 5, it was alleged that Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh was the man behind the story in the media on the alleged bugging of the Minister's office by the Army.
The petitioner alleged that Army Chief General V.K. Singh and four of his junior officers — Vice-Chief of Army S.K. Singh, Head of Military Intelligence B.S. Thakur, Head of Public Information S.L. Narshiman, and a junior officer under Narshiman, Hitten Sawhney — were involved in the release of the press note.
The release also said Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh, former DGDIA, “ … has been earlier questioned on the purchase of the ‘Air Monitoring System' without sanction from the technically empowered committee. This officer has also been an allottee in the Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai ...''
Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh said the release of the press note was an unauthorised act as the signatory was not empowered to speak on behalf of the Army. Only the Directorate of Public Relations of the Defence Ministry was authorised to talk to the press. The content of the press release was defamatory, false and mala fide which lowered his dignity, the petitioner said.