Rafale Deal: Setback to Government; Supreme Court Rejects Centre's 'Stolen Documents' Plea, Agrees To Accept New Documents in Review Petition
The Supreme Court of India | File Image | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, April 10: In a big setback to the government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an objection plea filed by the Centre in Rafale case. A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Rajan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph refused to accept the government’s ‘stolen document’ plea. The top court accepted the new documents to be included in the review petition filed against its December 14 verdict. Rafale Documents Not Stolen, Petitioners Used Photocopies: Attorney General K K Venugopal.

In March this year, Attorney General K K Venugopal in the apex court had said that the Rafale deal documents were stolen from the government and those publishing them were guilty under the Official Secrets Act. He was referring to documents pertaining to the purchase of Rafale fighter jets based on which articles were published in The Hindu. Later Venugopal took a U-turn on his statement.

In December 2018, the apex court had rejected petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Rafale deal, saying that it has found nothing wrong in the decision-making process. The top court later agreed to hear review petitions on its previous verdict. However, it refused to interfere in the issue of pricing of fighter planes.

Meanwhile, on January 2, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist-turned-politician Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan had moved the apex court for review of its Rafale judgement of December 14. In February, the Hindu newspaper published a series of reports claiming that "parallel negotiations" were carried out by the Prime Minister's Office. The newspaper published documents sourced from the Defence Ministry to back its claims. The petitioners, had annexed three documents with their two pleas - seeking the review of the court's December 14, 2018 judgment.