Rafale Hearing in SC: ‘Some Documents related to Deal Stolen from Defence Ministry’ Centre tells Court

Supreme Court

The Centre on Wednesday told the Apex Court that the documents related to Rafale Jets Deal have been stolen from the Defence Ministry. Attorney General KK Venugopal appearing for the Central Government asserted that “Certain Documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry either by public servants and an investigation on the matter is pending” He added ‘We are dealing with defence purchases which involve the security of the state. It is a very sensitive case”.

The Top Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph began hearing on the bunch of pleas filed against the Top Court’s December 14 Verdict that ruled out any investigation into Rafale Deal.

Prashant Bhushan who appeared for joint plea filed by Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and himself told the Supreme Court that ‘We have also made a supplementary affidavit based on reports by The Hindu’s Narasimman Ram’ Following which CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, “We don’t want any supplementary stuff. We have read what all you have given us.”

Intensifying his arguments in the Top Court, Bhushan referred to a news report published by senior journalist N Ram, AG KK Venugopal while opposing it said, that journalist write-up was based on the documents that are found missing and stolen. The Investigation on the matter is underway.

Venugopal added the first write up by the journalist featured in The Hindu Newspaper on February 8 and followed by a story that was aimed to influence the Court proceedings.

While Prashant Bhushan argued that the Top Court had earlier would not have dismissed the plea and would have ordered a probe if the facts are not diluted.

While KK Venugopal sought dismissal of review petitions as they relied on the stolen documents.

Background

The Supreme Court on December 14 rejected the Petition filed seeking a court-monitored CBI-led investigation into the Rafale deal involving ₹59,000 crores for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets. A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that there is no reason to doubt the deal.

The first petition in the case was filed by Advocate ML Sharma in the followed by another lawyer, Vineet Dhanda. AAP leader Sanjay Singh also filed a petition that seek Court Directions to probe Rafale Deal. Later, Former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha along with Prashant Bhushan also filed a petition in the Top Court.

However, the Top Court on December 14 rejected pleas saying no reason to doubt.

READ: Top Court expresses unhappiness over defective Review Pleas in Rafale Case; says ‘such’ pleas causing a delay

Later, after the Top Court Verdict on December 14, Several petitions seeking review of the verdict, including one by Former Union Ministers Yashwant SinhaArun Shourie along with Prashant Bhushan. The petition filed by the trio stated that the SC December 14 judgment contains several factual errors. The Trio further said that Verdict based upon patently incorrect claims made by the Government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court, which is a violation of a principle of natural justice.

READ: Sanjay Singh moves to Top Court seeking review of Rafale Verdict, second review plea in the issue

Later, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also filed a review petition in the Top Court on January 14. AAP Leader Leader in his Petition demanded the identification of the individual who misled the top Court.

The Rafale Controversy in the last few months is on the boil with Opposition Parties trading barbs over the Issue. The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal and asking a JPC on the issue.

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