New Delhi, Jun 8 - Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh and four top serving officers were today summoned as "accused" in a criminal defamation case filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, in perhaps the first occasion when top-ranking officials have been called by a court.
Besides Gen V K Singh, the other four named in the complaint and have been summoned are Vice Chief of Army Staff S K Singh, Lt Gen B S Thakur (DGMI), Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him.
A Delhi court directed them to appear before it on July 20. Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said all the five have been "summoned as accused in the present matter".
The court, however, said the summons are only for the alleged offence of defamation as the allegation of hatching a criminal conspiracy appears to be "absurd".
"However, it is made clear that the accused are not being summoned qua the allegation of hatching a criminal conspiracy against the complainant (Tejinder Singh).
"Upon appreciating the entire evidence and 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 as described under section 499 (defamation) read with section 35 (act done with criminal knowledge or intention) of the IPC," the Magistrate said.
Tejinder Singh had filed the complaint alleging that he was defamed by the Army through its press release issued on March 5, which accused him of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the erstwhile Army chief. PTI