After A-G’s U-turn, Chidambaram says ‘I suppose thief returned Rafale documents’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/chidambarams-dig-at-govt-i-suppose-thief-returned-rafale-documents-5617960/

After A-G’s U-turn, Chidambaram says ‘I suppose thief returned Rafale documents’

Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said, "On Wednesday, the Official Secrets Act was shown to the newspaper. On Friday, the Olive Branches Act was shown. We salute common sense."

P Chidambaram on Rafale documents being stolen from defence ministry
Congress leader P Chidambaram outside Parliament on February 7, 2019. (Express Photo: Renuka Puri)

A day after Attorney General KK Venugopal did a U-turn and said documents related to the Rafale deal were not stolen from the Defence Ministry, Congress leader P Chidambaram Saturday said he presumed the thief had returned them to the government.

“On Wednesday, it was ‘stolen documents’. On Friday, it was ‘photocopied documents’. I suppose the thief returned the documents in between on Thursday,” Chidambaram tweeted.

Chidambaram added, “On Wednesday, the Official Secrets Act was shown to the newspaper. On Friday, the Olive Branches Act was shown. We salute common sense.”

Two days after he claimed in the Supreme Court that documents related to the Rafale fighter deal were “stolen” from the Ministry of Defence, and threatened to invoke the Official Secrets Act and initiate “criminal action” against two publications and a lawyer, Attorney General K K Venugopal did a U-turn Friday, saying the “statement that files have been stolen is wholly incorrect”.

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He said the application filed by former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking from the court a review of its verdict dismissing pleas for a probe into the Rafale deal, had annexed three documents which were photocopies of the original.

Also read | Rafale ‘stolen’ files: From ‘jhoot, boot’ campaign to ‘chhuppa rustam’; how opposition reacted

The Attorney General’s turnaround came after his remarks were condemned by press groups as “reprehensible… threats” with the “potential of sending out a chilling effect to one and all in the media”.

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