The hearing in the review petition seeking a probe in the Rafale deal started in Supreme Court today. Presenting his arguments, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that he is not seeking cancellation of the deal like other petitioners, but only seeking a probe. He alleged that there are several serious errors in documents provided by the government on which the court depended while passing the judgement rejecting the petitions in the deal earlier.
As proof for his argument, Prashant Bhushan wanted to present an eight-page note, but Attorney General KK Venugopal strongly objected to that. He said that the files were stolen from the defence ministry, and a probe is being done on the matter.
The Attorney General said that the presentation of the notes is a violation of the Official Secrets Act, and the government is going to take action against the newspapers that have published the defence ministry notes. K K Venugopal said that action should be taken against Prashant Bhushan also for using stolen classified documents.
#Rafale: This would be an offence under Official Secrets Act. Action might be taken against two newspapers which published.
Action is also warranted against Senior counsel
These are matters which involve the very security of the State, AG KK Venugopal
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) March 6, 2019
The government counsel said that these documents involve the very security of the state, and they should not be made public. He said that today also The Hindu has published something, which is a contempt of the court. Today N Ram published a published a note from the Indian Negotiation Team of the Rafale deal to allege that NDA deal for Rafale is costlier than the abandoned UPA deal.
Levelling a very serious allegation, the Attorney General said that such news items are published a day before the hearing in court in an attempt to influence the hearing. He said that the newspaper is guilty under IPC for theft and under the Official Secretes Act for accessing and publishing confidential documents related to national security.
Therefore, the review petitions should be dismissed, he argued. The bench will continue hearing the case after lunch. The Attorney General also informed the court that he will apprise the bench about the action that the government is considering to take for the theft of documents at 2 PM today.