06 March 2019
New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday told the court that documents related to Rafale that have appeared in the media and cited by petitioners seeking a recall of the December 14 ruling giving a clean chit to the government on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets were privileged documents stolen from the Defence Ministry.
Referring to the dissent note by the three members of India Negotiating Team (INT) in the eight-page note, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph that it was being probed if they were stolen by former or present employees.
The Attorney General referred to an article in The Hindu by its former Editor N. Ram related to the note by the three members of the INT and said that it was being investigated.
The Attorney General took exception to the newspaper publishing a report on February 8 - just prior to the hearing of the Rafale plea by the top court.
At this, CJI Gogoi wanted to know that if what had been published in two write-ups were based on "unauthorized" documents, what action the government had taken in the first instance when the story appeared on February 8.
The court asked the Attorney General to apprise it of the steps taken vis-a-vis the documents allegedly stolen from the Defence Ministry.
As the Attorney General sought that the both the review petitions and the application for perjury proceedings against the officials who misled the court and suppressed material information from it be dismissed at the outset, the court said that let Prashant Bhushan say what he wants and the court will decide what part of it to be accepted.