The Supreme Court will investigate the secret, leaked documents over Rafale fighter jets deal as it is a decision on plea to review its order gave the government a clean shit on the deal, which the opposition claims was corrupted. On Wednesday, the judges have unanimously rejected the centre’s objections to considering the ‘classified documents’ leaked from the Ministry of Defence as evidence.
The court claims that it would go before the hearing of the review petitions in the expectation of new documents referred by petitioners alleged wrong-doing in Rafale fighter jets deal. Therefore, the petitioner would be allowed to decide the merits.
It means that the ‘classified documents’ sourced by the media without any authorization can be considered as proof. It’s a great achievement for a free press at a time questions have been raised over strong-arm skills to dominate the media.
Referring to internal notes of the Defence Minister, The Hindu has published a series of reports, claims that the Defence Ministry had objected to negotiating parallelly for the fighter jets by the PM’s Office.
Citing the documents, the petitioners had called for an evaluation of the verdict. Former Union Minister Arun Shourie, who is one of the petitioners said that “these are sensitive documents relating to defence, but that was precisely what we said too – that because they are documents of importance, they must be treated as part of supporting documents.”
The centre informed the top court that the documents filed by the petitioners are “sensitive to national security”, those who are involved in illegally photocopying the papers are offenders and puts national security in danger by leaking them in public.
Today, the top court has rejected the argument and said that it would surely fix a date to hear the petitions.
Congress National Chief Rahul Gandhi has welcomed the order of the Supreme Court, adding that “Today, the Supreme Court has made it clear that the Chowkidar facilitated theft. The Supreme Court has accepted that there was corruption in the Rafale deal”.
Meanwhile, petitioner Prashant Bhushan had argued, “if a document is relevant in deciding a fact, how it was obtained becomes irrelevant”. Referring to the US order on Pentagon Papers leak, he continued that once a document is published, the government no longer can claim the privilege.
The Chairperson of The Hindu Publishing Group, N Ram said that the documents were published in public interest only, and the media group will fiercely protect all its sources.
In December 2018, the Supreme Court has rejected the petitions charges that the government went for an overpriced deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets deal to aid Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aviation rookie defence firm bag an offer contract with Dassault Aviation. However, there were no reasons to doubt the process of decision making of the government, claims the top court.
The Hindu newspaper published reports claims that the deal became more expensive for the nation as France has refused to provide bank guarantees.