The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in connection with the Rafale fighter jet case, claiming that the documents submitted in the Rafale review petition are sensitive to national security.
Earlier in the day, the Defence Ministry had sought permission to file the affidavit, which was granted by the apex Court. The Court was hearing petitions seeking review of its December 14th, 2018 verdict in which the Modi-government was given clean chit in the deal with France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets.
The Ministry told the Court that documents filed by the petitioners seeking review of its Rafale deal verdict are "sensitive to national security" and relate to war capacity of the combat aircraft.
In its affidavit, the government said, the petitioners--former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan --are guilty of leaking the sensitive information which has been widely circulated and is available to the country's enemy and adversaries.
"This puts the national security in jeopardy. Without consent, permission or acquiescence of the Central Government, those who have conspired in making the photocopy of these sensitive documents and annexing it to the review petition/ miscellaneous application and thereby committing theft by unauthorized photocopying of such documents...have adversely affected the sovereignty, security and friendly relations with the foreign countries," the affidavit said.
The Defence Ministry said that even though the Centre "maintains secrecy", the review petitioners are "guilty of leakage of sensitive information, which offends the terms of the agreements". It also affects relationship between India and France, it said.
It told the court that inquiry into alleged leak of sensitive documents from Defence ministry started on February 28, 2019. It also claimed that petitioners are using unauthorised accessed documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to national security and defence.
The Supreme Court will hear the review plea on the Rafale case on Thursday.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar