- SC Adjournes Rafale case to March 14
- 'Will You Use Same Defence for Bofors?':SC
- Govt Cites Pak F-16s
- Hearing on Rafale Review Resumes
- Congress Steps up Attack Against Govt
- Govt Accuses The Hindu of Stealing Secret Documents
- 'Serious Error of Facts in Rafale Judgement'
- SC to Take up Rafale Shortly
- UP Govt Opposes Mediation
The Supreme Court also came down heavily on the government for citing Pakistan’s use of F-16 fighter jets in the recent aerial confrontation to resist the probe into the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets. Justice KM Joseph questioned Attorney General KK Venugopal if the government would take shelter under national security when the allegations is of grave crime and corruption.
CJI tells Prashant Bhushan that if the court accepts AG's arguments, they will reject the documents and hear his review petition without the papers. "If we reject AG's submissions, we will then see how these documents are relevant to decide the review petitions," he said.
Coming down heavily on the government, Justice SK Kaul then intervenes and says, "If the documents were stolen, the Govt should put its own house in order. It is one thing to say that we should look at these documents with suspicion. But to say we can't even look at those documents may not be a correct submission in law."
The government has once again stressed that the court cannot look into the documents unless the source is known and is lawful. Slamming the govt's statement, KM Joseph says, "There were allegations of corruption in Bofors. Now will you say the same thing that a criminal court shouldn't look into any such document?"We are here to enunciate the law, he tells the govt. "Now where do we get an authority which says if a document comes from an unknown or unlawful source, documents cannot be looked into?" he adds.
The government once again asserted that Rafale falls outside judicial purview "The petitioners are relying on stolen evidence. Govt cannot come to court every time we have to declare," it reiterated. To this Justice KM Joseph replies, "The issue here is that the law of the country has been broken by corrupted practices. Even stolen evidence can be looked into, provided it is relevent and authentic. You must talk about the law."
The government in return asserts that the apex court can't look into this matter and says it is beyond judicial purview. "Do we have to come to the court to justify when we declare war, when we declare peace? Do we have to come and seek permission of the court every time when we take steps in the national security?" it asks.
The government cites the use of F-16s by Pakistan to oppose CBI inquiry into the Rafale deal. "Recent incidents have shown how vulnerable we are. When others have superior F16 aircrafts, should we also not buy better aircrafts. There will be damage done to the country by seeking a CBI inquiry" it says. Justice KM Joseph, in complete disagreement to the statement, then pulls up government and says that issue of national security doesn't arise when question in review is that the plea of investigation hasn't been considered."Are you going to take shelter under national security when the allegations is of grave crime, corruption?" he asks the government.
SC Hearing on Rafale Resumes | The SC declines to give hearing to Rafale review petitioner and AAP RS member, Sanjay Singh ,saying the statements made by him on the SC judgment are very derogatory. The SC further told Singh's lawyer that action will be taken against him for this offensive remarks. "We will take actions against you after completion of these hearings and after giving you an opportunity to explain," says CJI.
Reacting to the allegations of stealing confidential government documents, N Ram told CNN-News 18 that whatever has been published by the newspaper is under public interest." We will uphold freedom of speech and I hope independent media section will stand by what we have written. I cannot comment on the attorney gen's statement but, what we have published is for the public to read," he says, adding, "allegation of stealing was made against those who stole it".
Congress Accuses PM Modi of Corruption in Rafale Deal | As the hearing on the petitions against the Rafale verdict goes on at the Supreme Court, the Congress is addressing a simultaneous press conference where it is accusing the BJP-led government at the centre of heavy corruption in the Rafale deal. "It is clear that PM Narendra modi misled the people with facts around the Rafale deal with his white lies and he is responsible for the corruption," says Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
The Supreme Court, reacting to the allegations of theft made against the English daily The Hindu, asks the Attorney General what steps or actions have been taken by the Govt after the documents were reportedly stolen. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi then asks Venugopal to seek instructions and apprise the steps taken by the govt at 2 PM today.
Govt Accuses The Hindu of Stealing Govt Documents | Citing the Hindu report on the Rafale deal, in which the English daily pointed out major anomalies in the deal, the Attorney General accuses the paper of stealing confedential government documents from the Ministry. It further alleged that the newspaper used the documents "selectively". "These documents are not admissible. Having these documents is an offence under the secrecy act. The govt is planning to launch a prosecution." KK Venugopal says this is an offence under the Official Secrets Act and hence the review petitions must be dismissed.
Prashant Bhushan Accuses Govt of Misleading SC in Rafale Judgement | Lawyer- activist and one of the petitioners in the case ,Prashant Bhusan, says there have been serious error of facts in the Rafale judgment of December 14, 2018, and accuses the BJP-led government at the centre of trying to mislead the court."The government should be hauled up for perjury," says Bhushan.
SC to Shortly Begin Review of Petitions on Rafale Deal | The Supreme Court will now shortly begin reviewing petitions that seek a review of the Rafale Verdict of December 14,2018 in which the top court gave 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 on the Rafale jets on several grounds, including information that has come into public domain after its pronouncement.
French aircraft Rafale manoeuvres during the inauguration of the 12th edition of Aero India 2019 air show at Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru. (Image: PTI)
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph was hearing the case during 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 in The Hindu newspaper, Attorney General K K Venugopal opposed it, saying his write-ups were based on stolen documents and an investigation into the theft is on.
Venugopal said the first write up by the senior journalist appeared in The Hindu on February 8 and there is also a story in Wednesday's edition which was aimed at influencing the proceedings and that amounts to contempt of court.
While Venugopal was seeking dismissal of the review petitions and raising objections to Bhushan's arguments based on the write-ups published in The Hindu, the bench sought to know from the Centre what has it done when it is alleging that the stories are based on stolen material.
Advancing his arguments on behalf of Sinha, Shourie and himself, Bhushan said critical facts on Rafale were suppressed when the petition for an FIR and investigation were filed.
He said that the top court would not have dismissed the plea for FIR and probe into Rafale deal had there not been suppression of facts.
However, Venugopal said the documents relied upon by Bhushan were stolen from the Defence Ministry and an investigation into the matter was underway.
At this point, the chief justice said that hearing Bhushan did not mean that the top court was taking on record the documents on the Rafale deal.
He also asked Venugopal to tell after lunch what action has been taken on theft of documents on the aircraft deal.
The AG also submitted that the documents on the deal relied on by the petitioners were marked secret and classified, and therefore, are in violation of Official Secrets Act.
He sought dismissal of the review petitions and perjury application as they relied on stolen documents and said that today's The Hindu report on Rafale amounts to influencing hearing in apex court and is itself contempt of court.
The bench rose for the lunch break asking Venugopal to apprise it about the whole development related to the stealing of the documents and the investigation conducted by the Centre in the post lunch session.
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