Modi govt never called the Rafale papers ‘stolen’ when the report came out, resorted to it now

On February 8, when The Hindu published the Rafale report, the govt only put out the document on news agency ANI with more notings from by then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar

PTI photo
PTI photo

NH Web Desk

The central government on Wednesday in the Supreme Court had threatened to take action against two publications stating that their news reports on Rafale deal are based on the documents, which were stolen from Ministry of Defence.

But when on February 8, The Hindu newspaper published a report with official notings and ANI had put out the same official note with more notings, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while challenging The Hindu report, had not mentioned any document while she spoke in the Lok Sabha.

According to a report in The Indian Express, The Hindu report, mentioning a “Defence Ministry note” of November 2015, stated that the Ministry “raised strong objections to ‘parallel negotiations’ conducted by PMO with the French side” in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Defence Minister had said the note published along with the news report did not include a noting by then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, who had rejected the concerns.

“When the newspaper itself has chosen to say or point out in detail the then Defence Secretary’s comment which was meant for the attention of the then Raksha Mantri, it should have also put the reply of the Raksha Mantri which was also given in writing. If the newspaper wanted to bring the truth out, I would have thought that it was incumbent upon that newspaper to put the reply of the then Raksha Mantri also on record,” Sitharaman said.

“The Opposition leaders who want a reply should now know what the reply of the then Raksha Mantri, shri Parrikar was… the then Raksha Mantri. He had very clearly said in response to the file noting of the then Defence Secretary to ‘remain calm, there is nothing to worry, things are going all right’. To that extent, a detailed reply was given by the then Raksha Mantri, Shri Parrikar Ji … In all fairness, it should have been the duty of the newspaper which has published this to also put it on record the comment of the Defence Secretary and that the reply given was this,” Defence Minister stated.

“They are not interested in the Indian Air Force getting powerful. They are not interested in the Indian Air Force becoming empowered. They are working to the tunes of multinational corporate warfare. They are damaging this country. I charge them with that offence,” she claimed.

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