Petitioners Guilty Of Leaking Sensitive Information In Rafale Deal: MoD To SC
The Ministry of Defence in its affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court said that documents attached by the petitioners in the Rafale deal review case are sensitive to national security. MoD in its affidavit held the petitioners guilty of leaking sensitive information of the Rafale deal and for “putting National Security in jeopardy.”
The Supreme Court has been hearing a review petition on clean chit given by the court to the central government on Rafale deal. It may be recalled that on March 6, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the important documents regarding the pricing of the deal were stolen from ministry files and given to The Hindu newspaper for publishing. N Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Publishing group earlier broke news about the serious inconsistencies in the Rafale deal through a series of articles.
“Petitioners guilty of jeopardising national security”
The MoD in its affidavit said that the documents attached in the review (which the SC has been hearing) is in public domain, meaning that the same is also available to “enemy/our adversaries”.
“Those who have conspired in this leakage are guilty of penal offences including theft by unauthorized photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting national security. These matters are now subject of an internal enquiry which commenced on February 28,” the affidavit said, ANI reported.
Earlier in the day, the SC had allowed the ministry to file an affidavit in the court.
“Documents stolen from MoD”: AG
In reference to The Hindu newsbreak which brought several inconsistencies with the Rafale Deal, AG told the SC that the classified documents were stolen from MoD.
Representing the central government, Attorney General Venugopal told the apex court, “These documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry either by former or present employees. These are secret documents and can’t be in the public domain.”
To this, the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked what action was being taken in this regard. AG said that investigations are underway as to know how documents were stolen. As reported by NDTV, he further accused The Hindu of relying on these “stolen” classified documents for publishing the newsbreak. “It is a criminal offence. We are objecting preliminary because secret documents can’t be annexed with the petition. Review and perjury petitions must be dismissed,” he added. AG said the petitioners including Prashant Bhushan were violating the Official Secrets Act by relying on classified documents.