Court issues contempt notice to army chief

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Indian Army chief on former Lt. General Tejinder Singh’s contempt plea alleging that no action was taken against former army chief General V.K. Singh and four others for defamation.

The petitioner said the army failed to comply with the court’s earlier order for taking disciplinary action against the former army chief and others for exceeding their jurisdiction to defame him.

Justice G.S. Sistani issued contempt notice to Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh and also to former defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma for their failure to initiate disciplinary action against former army chief General (retd) V.K. Singh and four others who had “exceeded their jurisdiction and defamed” Lt. General (retd) Tejinder Singh.

The court asked them to file their response by Sep 9.

Lt. General (retd) Tejinder Singh moved the court saying that Justice Mukta Gupta, in the order passed May 24 last year, had said that disciplinary action “can be taken” against the former army chief and four other officers.

The court in its order had earlier refused to direct the government to withdraw the March 5, 2012 press release in which former army chief General V.K. Singh accused Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh of offering him a bribe.

It, however, noted that the then army chief and four other officers exceeded their jurisdiction and defamed Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh and, thus, disciplinary action could be taken against them by the disciplinary authority.

The petitioner sought initiation of criminal or civil proceedings against Defence Minister A.K. Antony, the army chief and the former defence secretary, for not complying with the court’s earlier order.

He said several representation were made to the defence ministry for initiating disciplinary action against the five people named in his original complaint.

“Instead of starting disciplinary proceedings by initiating a Court of Inquiry, the army headquarters claims to have conducted a so-called investigation in the matter which has no legal sanctity in law. In the present case, the said procedure set by law has been given a complete go by, making a mockery of law and fair play,” said the petitioner.

Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh had earlier approached the court after the army chief issued a release that said he was offered Rs.14 crore in bribe to clear a tranche of 600 “sub-standard” vehicles for the army.

He moved the court seeking withdrawal of the press release that levelled “serious allegation” against him.

Lt. Gen. (retd) Tejinder Singh moved the court seeking initiation of disciplinary legal action against General (retd) V.K. Singh, Vice Chief of Army Staff S.K. Singh, Director General Military Intelligence Lt. Gen. B.S. Thakur, Additional Director General of Public Information Major General S.L. Narasimhan and Lt. Col. Hitten Sawhney.

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