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Modi Govt Tells Top Court Rafale Deal Documents Stolen from Defense Ministry

NEW DEHLI – The Indian government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that documents associated to the Rafale aircraft deal have been stolen from the defense ministry, Times of India reported Thursday.
The Spreme court has adjourned the hearing in the case to March 14, according to The Times of India.
Those who had released documents on the Rafale deal in the public domain are guilty under the Official Secrets Act and contempt of court, KK Venugopal, attorney general said.
The attorney general said that an inquiry into the theft is ongoing.
The bench was hearing petitions seeking a review of its December 14 verdict rejecting all the appeals against the deal purchased by India.
Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, who had jointly filed a petition, claimed that the Indian government subdued crucial facts when the apex court chose to drop the batch of PILs against the Rafale deal in December.
When Bhushan pointed to an article written by N Ram, a senior journalist, in The Hindu, Venugopal said the articles were based on stolen documents.
He further added that the first article by Ram appeared in The Hindu on February 8 and Wednesday’s edition which like the other articles published later aimed at influencing the court’s proceedings.
“This amounted to contempt of court,” he said.
The Hindu published the documents by omitting the word ‘secret’ from the top, he said, increasing objections to Bhushan’s arguments based on The Hindu’s articles and seeking a discharge of the review petitions.
The bench asked to know, what is done by the federal government when it alleges that the articles are based on stolen material.
Raising arguments on behalf of Sinha, Shourie and himself, Bhushan said the top court would not have rejected the plea for FIR and a probe into crucial facts has been suppressed.
Venugopal added the documents relied upon by Bhushan were stolen from the ministry of Defense and an investigation into the matter was underway.
The chief justice further added hearing Bhushan did not mean the top court was taking on record the documents on the Rafale deal.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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