New Delhi: Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh reached the Delhi High Court on Friday with the defamation suit filed by him against Army Chief General V K Singh and four others.

The Delhi High Court during the hearing of his plea asked the Centre to clarify on Tejinder’s plea whether the press release with allegations against former Lt Gen Tejinder Singh was issued by the Government or by the Army officials in their individual capacity.

Justice Mukta Gupta asked the Centre's counsel Neeraj Chaudhary to seek instructions from the Defence Ministry and apprise the court of the requisite details by April 27. The court gave the order on a plea by former Lt Gen Singh for directions to the Army Headquarters to withdraw the release.

In a criminal writ petition filed through his counsel Anil K Aggarwal, Tejinder Singh contended that the press release issued by senior Army officials, including Army Chief General V K Singh, was "defamatory" and sought its withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the Centre's counsel submitted that the grounds of challenge in the petition are questionable as far as the criminal writ is concerned. Deferring the matter for April 27, Justice Gupta said, "The court will see the maintainability of the petition once the Government clarifies whether the press release was issued by the officers in their official or individual capacity.

The court also asked Tejinder Singh to show any judgment or provision of law under which it can direct the government to withdraw the press release.   

Patiala Court took cognizance of defamation case on Thursday

On Thursday, the Patiala Court had taken cognisanze of the criminal defamation case filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh against Army Chief General V K Singh and four others.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar had taken cognizance of former Lt Gen Singh's complaint after hearing his arguments and those of his counsel and slated the matter for recording of his pre-summoning evidence on April 10.  Besides Army Chief Gen V K Singh, the former Lieutenant General, in his complaint, has also 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.

For the record, a large number of media reports had emerged with allegations of carrying out illegal off-the-air monitoring of call records of some senior officials. According to Tejinder Singh, the media cell of the Army Head Quarters issued a press release, levelling serious allegations against him by name.

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. In a suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha, Antony had said that the Army Chief had told him about Tejinder Singh allegedly offering him the bribe, which he heard with "shock" and asked him to take action against the person.