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Petitioners have no right to use sensitive Rafale docs; endangered national security: Def Min tells SC

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New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court (SC) in the Rafale case after it got permission from the apex court earlier day. The government told the SC that those who ‘conspired by making photocopies of the sensitive Rafale documents and used those in the review petition (of SC’s December 14 verdict) have thereby committed theft, adversely affecting the security, sovereignty and friendly relations with a foreign country.

The government’s advocate earlier today sought permission from the apex court to file an affidavit in the review petitions pending in the case pertaining to the Rafale deal.

The matter will be heard in SC tomorrow, which earlier adjourned the hearing till March 14 after the government claimed that certain documents pertaining to the deal were stolen from the Defence Ministry.

After a political row over the same Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal altered his stand. Venugopal, who represents the government in the case stated that the petitioners ‘photocopies of the original papers”, which were protected under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). It is to be noted that a series of news articles based on the said documents alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal.

The affidavit mentions that the petitioners have no authority whatsoever to use sensitive Rafale documents, which endangered national security.

The SC was hearing petitions seeking review of its December 14, 2018 verdict in which it gave a clean chit to the government in the deal with France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets. In its verdict, the government had dismissed pleas challenging the deal and seeking a Special Investigative Team (SIT)-led probe into the alleged irregularities and corruption in the deal.

Following the verdict, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Arun Shourie moved the apex court on January 2, 2018, for a review of its judgement on the Rafale deal.

Source: Times Now

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