Rafale Documents Not Stolen, Petitioners Used Photocopies, Says Attorney General - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
image
India

Rafale documents not stolen, petitioners used photocopies, says attorney general

6092
By PTI Updated: Mar 08, 2019 10:32 pm

New Delhi, March 8 (PTI): Attorney General K K Venugopal Friday claimed the Rafale documents were not stolen from the Defence Ministry and that what he meant in his submission before the Supreme Court was that petitioners in the application used “photocopies of the original” papers, deemed secret by the government.

His comments in the apex court on Wednesday that Rafale fighter jet deal documents were stolen caused a political row, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi targeting the government over stealing of such sensitive papers and seeking a criminal investigation.

“I am told that the opposition has alleged what was argued (in SC) was that files had been stolen from the Defence Ministry. This is wholly incorrect. The statement that files have been stolen is wholly incorrect,” he told PTI, in an apparent damage-control exercise.

Venugopal said the application filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushant, seeking from the court a review of its verdict dismissing pleas for a probe into against the Rafale deal, had annexed three documents which were photocopies of the original.

Official sources said the AG’s use of word stolen was probably “stronger” and could have been avoided.

The government had also warned The Hindu newspapers with a case under Official Secrets Act for publishing articles based on these documents.

Indian Newspaper Society slams govt’s stand before SC on Rafale deal reportage

The Indian Newspaper Society, the apex body of the print media industry, on Friday expressed its outrage over the government’s stand before the Supreme Court on the Rafale deal reportage and called for repealing of the Official Secrets Act.

The statement of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) came days after Attorney General K K Venugopal sought dismissal of a petition for a review of the Supreme Court’s earlier judgment on the Rafale deal on the ground that the fresh plea relied on documents “stolen” from the Defence Ministry and that investigations were going on to find out if it was a crime and violative of the Official Secrets Act.

“The INS has expressed its shock and outrage at the reported threat of action under the draconian Official Secrets Act against The Hindu. The threat made in the Supreme Court by the Attorney General, who had appeared on behalf of the government in the Rafale case hearing, is unconscionable and utterly unacceptable in a democracy,” the statement said.

The society has asked the government and political parties to come together and “repeal the antediluvian law” as it is sought to be used against the media for publishing “unpalatable truths about the government”.

This law has no place in a democracy where the freedom of press to report on governance and administrative decisions is constitutionally protected. The protection extends to the confidentiality of sources, it said.

6092
By PTI Updated: Mar 08, 2019 10:32:04 pm
Website Design and Website Development by TIS