India

Rafale case: Shoot the messenger is the new diktat

The government is now saying that Rafale deal docs have been stolen from the Defence Ministry. They are claiming that it is an offence under Official Secrets Act. They might have malafide intentions

Rafale jets (Social Media)

Ashlin Mathew

“The government has now said that the documents being filed in court on Rafale deal have been stolen from the Defence Ministry and are claiming that it is an offence under Official Secrets Act. They might have malafide intentions. They could start ED or CBI proceedings against the petitioners and lawyers such as Prashant Bhushan. They are capable of it. How many cases will they file, but that doesn’t mean all voices will quieten down,” says Sanjay Singh, a petitioner in the Rafale case and an AAP MP.

The Supreme Court was on Tuesday, February 6, hearing the review petitions filed by various parties in the Rafale case. The case is being heard by the bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.

During the hearing Attorney General KK Venugopal insisted that the newspaper (The Hindu) was guilty under IPC for theft and under Official secrets Act for accessing privileged documents. He submitted that the review and perjury petitions are liable to be dismissed on this ground alone. .

In an intense debate between the Attorney General and the SC judges that began after petitioner Prashant Bhushan submitted an eight-page note, Venugopal contended that a probe into that was underway to identify how the documents were stolen

When the judges asked Venugopal whether illegally obtained evidence can be relied upon or not, the miffed Attorney General asked whether the Court would give directions on war and peace too.

On hearing this, the Gogoi asked, “An accused is having difficulty in proving his innocence. He steals a document and shows it to judge. The document clearly shows he is innocent. Should the judge not admit the document?”

Venugopal responded stating that if the documents are a subject matter of criminality, then the Court shouldn’t look into it. To which Gogoi shot back to clarify if such a document is ‘completely not touchable’.

Realising that he had been caught on the wrong foot, Venugopal said that the matter has been given a political colour and requested the Court to exercise restraint.

Referring to the Rafale reports in The Hindu, Singh said that N Ram has reported earlier on the Bofors case too. This is not the first time he is doing such stories. It is his duty to report. Will they stop people from doing their jobs,” questions Singh. “To hide one truth, how many lies will they say,” points out the AAP MP.

Singh contends that the ‘Chowkidaar’ (watchman) is the ‘chor’ (thief) in this case. “The Rafale deal is the biggest defence corruption deal in the country. The Prime Minister is involved and so is Anil Ambani, who has benefitted the most in this case.

Sanjay Singh had also submitted a petition asking the Supreme Court to look into the lies that the government stated in the Rafale documents filed in the Supreme Court. “They had then claimed that the Supreme Court had misread the documents.

In the hearing the CJI had stated that they had taken the issue ‘seriously’ and would take ‘serious action’ on the Rafale case and then pointed out to Singh’s lawyer Sanjay Hegde that this case wont be heard.

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