Centre claims ‘The Hindu’ newspaper report on Rafale deal based on stolen papers, should be booked under contempt of court

rafale deal

The Hush Post| 10:57 am |one-minute-read

In a latest, the Centre has claimed in the Supreme Court that the documents on Rafale deal relied upon by petitioners were stolen from the defence ministry.  The Supreme Court is hearing petitioners asking a review of its original judgment on the Rafale deal.

Attorney General KK Venugopal’s comments were targeted at the newspaper The Hindu. The newspaper had been publishing stories over the past one month exposing various anomalies in the Rafale deal. Venugopal specifically mentioned one particular report published by the newspaper on Wednesday. He argued the newspaper should be booked under contempt of court.

“Today’s The Hindu report on Rafale amounts to influencing hearing in the SC and is itself contempt of court. The strategy is to put out a news item the day before the hearing so as to influence the hearing,” the AG said.

“This, by itself, is contempt of court, I am suggesting that the newspaper is guilty under IPC for theft and under Official Secrets Act for accessing privileged documents… Action is also warranted against senior counsel. These are matters which involve the very security of the state,” he added.

“Documents on Rafale deal relied on by petitioners were marked secret and classified, and are in violation of the Official Secrets Act. Investigation is underway on documents related to Rafale deal being stolen,” Attorney General K.K.Venugopal submitted in the Supreme Court.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph began the open court hearing. During the hearing in which former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, who had jointly filed the petition, alleged that the Centre suppressed crucial facts when the apex court decided to dismiss the batch of PILs against the Rafale deal in December.

When Bhushan referred to an article written by senior journalist N. Ram, Venugopal opposed it. He said that Ram’s write-ups were based on stolen documents. He said that an investigation into the matter is on. Venugopal cited his claims to seek a dismissal of Rafale review petition and perjury application, saying it relied on stolen documents.

As the hearing began on Wednesday, the SC made it clear that it would not look into any supplementary affidavits or other documents not filed before it.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi said the bench would look into only the materials already on record in the main case, LiveLaw reported.

Earlier in the day, petitioner Bhushan submitted that the court did not consider the nature of relief sought by them. He claimed that the court relied on a lot of erroneous facts while delivering the judgment. He said that the erroneous facts were possibly issued by the government in the sealed cover notes.

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