The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing in the Rafale fighter jets deal case till March 14, after the government said that certain documents pertaining to the deal were stolen from the Defence Ministry.
In the marathon hearing, the Centre told the apex court that documents pertaining to the deal have been stolen from the Defence Ministry and that the papers relied on by the petitioners were marked secret and, therefore, in violation of the Official Secrets Act.
The apex court was hearing on petitions seeking review of its December 14, 2018 verdict that had dismissed pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph heard the matter.
CBI investigation will do damage to India: Govt
The attorney general also told the Supreme Court that the Rafale case pertains to defence procurement which cannot be reviewed judicially. Venugopal said that if a CBI investigation is directed now, huge damage will be done to the country.
During the hearing, Chief Justice Gogoi said, “Primary question is that should the court not look into the evidence or the document if there is relevance or corruption?”
Attorney General KK Venugopal said, “It should not be looked into as it deals with Defence and secrets. We are dealing with defence purchases which involve the security of the state. It is a very sensitive case.”
SC to hear matter without documents
Superme Court asked the AG about why the documents can’t be used if it is critical to the case. AG said that since there is a matter of criminality regarding the documents, it would be prudent for SC to exercise restraint. He also said that court’s statement on Rafale may be used to destabilize either govt or opposition, so it should refrain from making it:
After intense debate, SC said that it would hear Bhushan’s argument without those papers. Bhushan said even without the documents, the case holds as he has given source for most of the other documents. Bhushan alleged that the government gave wrong facts to the court and later said that the judges have misread it.