Defamation case against Army chief sent to another court

NEW DELHI, May 5: A Delhi court hearing the criminal defamation complaint against Army Chief Gen V K Singh and four others today transferred it to the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM).

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Sudesh Kumar, who was to pass an order today on the plea of former Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh, transferred the matter for further proceedings to ACMM Amit Bansal saying the counsel for the complainant appears to have “lost confidence over the courts of law”.

The matter would now be placed before ACMM Bansal on May 7.

The metropolitan magistrate was to pass his order on Tejinder Singh’s plea for summoning General V K Singh and four others as accused in the defamation case.

Besides the Army chief, he has named Vice Chief of Army Staff S K Singh, Lt Gen B S Thakur (DG MI), 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.

MM Sudesh Kumar, in his three page order, said he does not want to proceed further in the case as counsel Anil Kumar Aggarwal, who appeared for Tejinder Singh, exhibited “lack of confidence over the court.”

“The counsel for the complainant appears to have lost confidence over the courts of law and legal procedure.

“In my considered view, vide this application, counsel Anil Kumar Aggarwal has exhibited lack of confidence over the court and the manner in which he had tried to dictate to this court as to what is required to be mentioned in the proceeding order sheets and as to what type of inquiries this court has to make reflects his lack of faith in this court. Hence, under these circumstances, I do not want to proceed further with the trial in the present complaint,” MM Kumar said.

MM Kumar said that Tejinder Singh’s counsel had tried to “pressurise” the court for obtaining shorter date in the matter despite the fact that the case does not fall under the category of priority cases.

The magistrate has now directed Tejinder Singh to appear before ACMM Bansal on May 7.

“Let the matter be placed before ACMM-01 (Bansal) with request to pass further orders in this regards on May 7 at 2 PM. Complainant (Tejinder Singh) is directed to appear before ACMM-01 on May 7 at 2 PM,” he said.

The court had earlier recorded Tejinder Singh’s statement and the pre-summoning evidence in support of his defamation suit over a press release alleging that he had offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Ltd, which supplies vehicles to BEML.

Tejinder Singh had refuted the allegations that he had offered bribe to the Army chief for clearing a deal for 600 “sub-standard” vehicles.

Tejinder Singh’s counsel had earlier pleaded with the court to give its verdict in the case at the earliest, saying that Gen V K Singh is retiring at the end of this month and he should not be allowed to “escape”.

In his statement before the magistrate, Tejinder Singh had said that the allegation against him of having offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Ltd, which supplies vehicles to BEML was absolutely “false, ill-founded and concocted.”

The Army chief had claimed in media interviews that a lobbyist, who had “just” retired, offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a file relating to purchase of a tranche of 600 “sub-standard” vehicles of a particular make and he had immediately informed Defence Minister A K Antony about it.

The CBI is now probing the Army chief’s allegation. (PTI)

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