Classified papers linked to the Rafale deal stolen: Government tells SC

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New Delhi: In a major revelation, the government on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the documents related to the Rafale deal have been stolen and petitioners are violating the Official Secrets Act by relying on classified documents after the court’s attention was drawn to a newspaper report.

“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,” Attorney General KK Venugopal was quoted in a report as telling the court.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi questioned what action the government had taken.

“We are investigating how these documents were stolen,” the centre said, accusing The Hindu newspaper of relying on these classified documents.

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“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,” Attorney General said.

The apex court on December 14, 2018, had given a clean chit to the Modi government on acquiring 36 Rafale jet fighters in a ready-to-fly condition from French company Dassault Aviation.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph had on February 26 decided to hold an open court hearing of the pleas seeking the recall of its judgment.

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