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'Rafale Documents Were Stolen From Defence Ministry', Govt Tells SC

HARSH RANJAN | 0
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| March 6 , 2019 , 14:20 IST

The Supreme court is hearing a petition seeking a review of its December 14, 2018, judgment in the Rafale jet purchase matter in the open court after the plea for recall of the judgment was filed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist-turned-politician Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan among others.

The Supreme Court on December 14, 2018, dismissed four petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of the jet fighters.

Attorney General KK Venugopal on Wednesday told the Supreme Court, which is hearing review petitions in the Rafale deal case, that certain documents pertaining to the purchase of the fighter jets have been stolen from the defence ministry.

Citing the Hindu report on the Rafale deal, in which the English daily pointed out major anomalies in the deal, the Attorney General accuses the paper of stealing confidential government documents from the Ministry. It further alleged that the newspaper used the documents "selectively".

"These documents are not admissible. Having these documents is an offence under the secrecy act. The govt is planning to launch a prosecution," he added.

The Supreme Court, reacting to the allegations of theft made against the English daily The Hindu, asks the Attorney General what steps or actions have been taken by the Govt after the documents were reportedly stolen.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi then asked Venugopal to seek instructions and apprise the steps taken by the govt at 2 PM today.

KK Venugopal said this is an offence under the Official Secrets Act and hence the review petitions must be dismissed.

Attorney General told the court that the documents relied upon by advocate Prashant Bhushan were stolen from defence ministry by “present or former employees”.

Venugopal informed the apex court that an investigation has been ordered into the stolen papers.

The attorney general argued that the notes published in a newspaper and annexed in the review petition are “privileged” and cannot be taken note of. He said the court is dealing with defence purchases that involve the security of the country.

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Venugopal against the review petitions in Rafale deal case said, “Recent incidents have shown how sensitive it is so far as defence purchases are concerned…Such scrutiny will affect future purchases. Countries would be hesitant before entering."

He also told the court that prosecution would be launched against the two papers and the lawyer who has annexed it with the petition.

Earlier, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi refused to accept any fresh affidavit by Prashant Bhushan asking him to confine his arguments to the documents already submitted in the court.

kushal kumar

Some high profile persons in the field of politics- journalism of the country have filed review petitions before the Supreme Court of India for recalling its December 2018 Order concerning petition for a probe on purchase of Rafale Jets made from France. The petitions for recall and review of the said order came up for hearing before SC on 6 March 2019. The court was told that some related documents had been stolen after which some issues seem to be trending for decision. The matter was adjourned to 14 March 2019. In this context , readers may find relevance of this Vedic astrology writer’s predictions through article - “ The Year 2019 Astrologically for India” - published last year on 7 October , 2018 at theindiapost.com, as follows :- “ February - March 2019. These nearly two months appear to be calling for more care and appropriate strategy in relation to more than one front. …………………..All that is associated with the sovereign power of the State appears to be on the centre -stage. Justice delivery system or judiciary may also be in the focus”. https://www.theindiapost.com/headline/the-year-2019-astrologically-for-india/