India's defence ministry claims the Rafale review petition is a threat to national security

India's defence ministry claims the Rafale review petition is a threat to national security
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses after unveiling the 'Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Pension Yojana' at a function, in Chennai.Photo)(
  • The government files affidavit in the review petition against the Supreme Court verdict in the Rafale case
  • Ministry accused petitioners of conspiring to leak sensitive information about India's war capacity
  • A similar statement by Attorney General KK Venugopal faced severe criticism

The Ministry of Defence has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on March 13 in a case that questions the sanctity of the government deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from the French company Dassault.

"...the deponent of the affidavit of the Review Petition are guilty of leakage of sensitive information, which offends the terms of the agreements. Additionally, those who have conspired in this leakage are guilty of penal offences under the Indian Penal Code including theft by unauthorized photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting National Security,” Bar and Bench reported.

The ministry also contends that the petitioners have no authority to produce the documents before the Supreme Court without explicit permission from the Government of India.

The Supreme Court is presented with an appeal to review its December 2018 verdict that gave the government a clean chit after accusations of corruption in the defence procurement deal. The petitioners include former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, a former union minister Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan. Both Sinha and Shourie have been part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments in the past.

The affidavit is in consonance with the allegation made by the Attorney General KK Venugopal that the documents were stolen and an inquiry under the Officials Secrets Act was underway-- a statement which he later corrected as "photocopied without permission".

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