Centre to Supreme Court: National security at stake due to leaked Rafale docs

Updated: Mar 14, 2019, 12:23 IST | Agencies

Ministry of Defence says inquiry in progress over leakage of sensitive documents

Centre to Supreme Court: National security at stake due to leaked Rafale docs
A Rafale fighter aircraft takes off at the Yelahanka Air Force Station. Pic/AFP

New Delhi: The Centre told the Supreme Court that documents filed by the petitioners seeking review of its Rafale deal verdict are "sensitive to national security" and those who conspired in photocopying the papers have committed theft and put the security in jeopardy by leaking them.

The Ministry of Defence said an internal enquiry commenced on February 28 and is currently in progress over the leakage of sensitive documents and it is of utmost concern to find out where the leakage took place.

The affidavit filed by the ministry said documents attached by the petitioners — former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie as also activist advocate Prashant Bhushan — relate to war capacity of combat aircraft and have been widely circulated, available to the country's 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 unauthorised photocopying of such documents relied in this regard...have adversely affected the sovereignty, security and friendly relations with the foreign countries," said the affidavit, filed by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra.

The affidavit assumes significance as Attorney General K K Venugopal on March 6 hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had alleged that the review petition was based on the documents which were stolen from the ministry. Two days later, Venugopal claimed the documents were not stolen and he had meant in his submission before the top court that petitioners in the application used "photocopies of the original" papers, deemed secret by the government.

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