New Delhi:7/3:(odiannews):Brandishing the British-era Official Secrets Act, the top legal officer of the government, on Wednesday demanded that the Supreme Court turn down petitions seeking a review of its own December verdict rejecting a probe of the Rafale jet fighter deal, saying the petitioners, case rested on stolen papers acquired from “present or former employees” of the defence ministry.
Arguing for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, attorney general KK Venugopal said at an open court hearing that the “documents relied on by the petitioners in their review petitions were stolen from the ministry and should not be relied on”.
“It’s a criminal act on the part of petitioners to bring these documents with them. They have come with unclean hands,” Venugopal said. “Defence is the most important matter of state and national security. They have been illegally obtained and the source is not disclosed by the petitioners. It is a privileged document. These documents have made the cost of weapons public and has been taken from notes and has been put in the petition.”
Justice KM Jospeh, part of the bench hearing the case, said, “There were allegations of corruption in the Bofors [gun deal of 1986] case. Now will you say the same thing that the criminal court should not look into any such document in the case? Here we have an open system. Are you going to take shelter under national security when the allegation is of grave crime or corruption?”