Tejinder pursuing 'sinister anti-national agenda': V K Singh

 Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh today told a Delhi court that ex-Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, who has filed a criminal defamation case against him and four other Army officials, is pursuing a "sinister anti-national agenda" to malign and demean the Indian Army.

In his reply filed before Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Jay Thareja on Tejinder Singh's plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to him, Singh said Tejinder was "maliciously" prosecuting top serving and retired Army officers.

"The application moved by the complainant (Tejinder)...is vehemently opposed as the same is merely an outcome of the whims and fancies of complainant who is pursuing a sinister anti-national agenda of maligning and demeaning the Indian Army for reasons best known to him by maliciously prosecuting top serving and retired officers of the Indian Army," Singh said in his plea.

The former army chief said he has an "impeccable service record quite contrary to that of the complainant (Tejinder)" and the application seeking cancellation of bail is aimed at "harassing" him.

Besides the former Army chief, others who were earlier granted bail are Vice Chief of Army Staff S K Singh, Lt Gen B S Thakur (Director General of Military Intelligence), Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Col Hitten Sawhney.

The other four also opposed Tejinder's plea saying that it is "misconceived" and there is no ground for cancellation of bail granted to them.

Tejinder had on August 8 filed application seeking cancellation of the bail granted to them saying that four of the five accused have not appeared in the court to attend the proceedings and they might tamper with the evidence.

Tejinder had filed the complaint against the five 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 to clear a deal of 600 trucks, a charge refuted by him.

In his reply, the former Army chief said that he neither has any access to the documents nor the resources to influence any Army officer and he has not tampered with any of the files pertaining to the March 5 press release.

During the hearing, the court reserved its order for August 28 on the plea by the four serving Army officers for conversion of the case into a warrant case under section 259 of the CrPC, instead of summons case.

It also reserved its order on the plea by the four serving army officers for re-summoning the file of Ministry of Defence pertaining to the issuance of the March 5 press release.

During the proceeding, except Sawhney, none of the four accused appeared before the court and moved applications through their lawyers for exemption from personal appearance.

Advocate Anil Aggarwal, who appeared for Tejinder, opposed the plea seeking exemption from personal appearance but the court allowed the applications for today.

All the accused had appeared before the court on July 20 in response to the summonses issued against them and the four serving officials had moved the court for conversion of the case into a warrant case saying, "this is not a normal defamation case and it needs more elaboration".

The court had said that if the case is converted into a warrant case, the trial will take 20 years to conclude.

All the five accused were granted bail by the court on July 20 on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each.

In his complaint, Tejinder has accused them of misusing their official position, power and authority to level false charges against him.

The press release had blamed Tejinder, former chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency and some disgruntled serving officers of the Military Intelligence of planting story in the media relating to purported tapping of some sensitive phones in the capital.

The court had said it was "prima facie" satisfied that the March 5 press release was "defamatory" as "ex-facie" serious allegation of "bribery" has been made against Tejinder, who had a long and distinguished career in the Army.

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