In what might be seen as a vindication for Army chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh's stance, retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh has unexpectedly withdrawn his defamation case against his former superior officer from the Supreme Court. The Army chief had alleged that the former Lt Gen was the conduit for a Rs14 crore bribe offered to him to sanction the purchase of 'sub-standard' Vectra trucks for the force.
Lt Gen Singh was present in the Supreme Court when his lawyer Rajiv Dhawan urged the court to grant them permission to withdraw the petition. "Your Lordships, please don't open the file at all. Kindly grant me permission to withdraw the petition and move the appropriate forum," Dhawan said.
An NDTV report quoting sources close to Lt Gen Singh said he has "fresh evidence" against Gen V K Singh, possibly a disc of recorded conversations. Lt Gen Singh is likely to file a fresh petition against the Army chief before the Delhi High Court.
The issue exploded in April, when the Army chief said in an interview that he had been offered a bribe to clear the purchase of multi-purpose trucks that were not up to the mark in performance. He did not mention who had offered him the bribe; but defence minister A K Antony told Parliament a few days later that the chief had named Lt Gen Singh in a private conversation they had in 2010.
Facing allegations of inaction despite the Army chief's complaint, Antony claimed that he had asked Gen V K Singh to initiate action, but the general himself had demurred, preferring to let sleeping dogs lie.
The controversy hit not just the Army chief but Tatra-Vectra as well. The company is under a Central Bureau of Investigation probe, ordered at the behest of Antony.