09 March 2019
New Delhi: In a somersault, Attorney General K. K. Venugopal on Friday said he had never told the Supreme Court that Rafale file/documents were stolen, but had only said that the photocopies of the same were unauthorisedly taken away.
The clarification by the Attorney General came two days after he had twice told the court that Rafale documents were "stolen" and once he said that they were "purloined" and that the investigation was underway.
Sources close to the Attorney General on Friday sought to clarify that he had never said that the Rafale documents that were published in a section of the media and used by the petitioners were "stolen." All that he had told the court was that these documents were unauthorisedly photocopied, sources added.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her tweet quoted Attorney General as saying that he had never said that that the Rafale documents were stolen. He had told the top court that the petitioners (Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan) in their application used "photocopies of the original" papers, deemed by the government.
The Congress Spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala in his tweet late in the evening said, "Art of serving hundred lies to hide one truth. Yesterday in Supreme Court - Rafale files have been stolen. Today - photocopies of Rafale files have been stolen."
In the course of the hearing on March 6 when AG said that Rafale papers were stolen and that everytime on the day of hearing something appeared in the media, the court had asked what he had done after first write-up appeared in the media on February 8.
"What have you done? Papers were stolen; first article came on February 8. In between what had happened?" CJI had questioned AG on March 6 in the course of the hearing of the review plea, among others, by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan.
Sinha has moved an application seeking perjury against the officials for misleading the court and suppressing information.
In the course of the hearing, the court had asked if the Defence Ministry could file an affidavit stating that documents published by the newspaper were stolen. The AG had agreed to do so by the next week.
The court had even asked the AG to apprise it of the steps taken vis-a-vis the documents allegedly stolen.