New Delhi: After the Supreme Court allowed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to file an affidavit in the Rafale case earlier on Wednesday, the latter stated that the documents attached by the petitioners were sensitive to national security as they related to the war capacity of a combat aircraft.
The MoD in its affidavit stated that the ones who had helped in releasing the documents related to the Rafale deal were as guilty as charged. It read, “Those who’ve conspired in this leakage are guilty of penal offences including theft by unauthorised photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting national security. These matters are now subject of an internal enquiry which commenced on February 28.”
For the uninitiated, the Government had asked the SC on March 6 to dismiss the review petitions as they were based on documents ‘stolen’ from the MoD. Later, Attorney General K K Venugopal had said the documents were not stolen but the petitioners were using ‘photocopies of the original’ papers.
Venugopal had said, “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.”
The apex court had allowed the MoD to file an affidavit in the Rafale case after it sought permission for the same. The SC will resume the hearing in the Rafale issue on Thursday. It may be noted that the top court had on an earlier occasion dismissed the plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the Rafale deal.
There are two review petitions in the Rafale deal- one is by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, while the other is by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh.
In December last year, the SC had dismissed all petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation, saying it found “no occasion to really doubt the process” of decision making, pricing and selection of offset partners. However, on February 26, it had agreed to hear these petitions in an open court.