Rafale deal highlights: Centre says documents related to deal ‘stolen’ from MoD, SC adjourns hearing till Mar 14https://indianexpress.com/article/india/rafale-deal-supreme-court-live-updates-review-plea-5612989/

Rafale deal highlights: Centre says documents related to deal ‘stolen’ from MoD, SC adjourns hearing till Mar 14

Rafale deal highlights: There are two review petitions in the Rafale matter — one by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, and the other by AAP MP Sanjay Singh. 

Rafale deal LIVE updates: Supreme Court to hear review pleas today
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation

Rafale deal LIVE updates: The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of review petitions filed in the Rafale case against the apex court’s December 14 verdict till March 14. There are two review petitions in the Rafale matter — one by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, and the other by AAP MP Sanjay Singh.

Appearing for the centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the top court that documents pertaining to the fighter jet deal were stolen from the Defence Ministry and that an investigation over the alleged theft is ongoing. The AG said documents on Rafale deal relied on by petitioners are marked secret and classified, and in violation of Official Secrets Act

A bench comprising of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph had on December 14 dismissed petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of the jets from France, finding “no occasion to doubt the (decision-making) process” leading to the award of the contract, and said there was no material to show that the government had favoured anyone commercially.

Watch: Rafale deal controversy explained

A day after the bench passed the judgment, the Centre had approached the court seeking correction in the text of its order where it said that a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the pricing of the fighter jets “has been” examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Live Blog

Rafale deal LIVE updates: The Supreme Court is hearing review petitions of its verdict dismissing pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France.

In Coalgate and 2G scam cases, I got documents from a whistleblower: Prashant Bhushan

Before the court adjourned the hearing into the Rafale deal, Advocate Prashant Bhushan said all documents he submitted before the court were sourced from various publications. He cited how he got documents from whistleblowers in the 2G case and cases against former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha and how SC relies upon them.

Rafale jet deal case adjourned till March 14

The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing into the Rafale case till March 14.

Court's statement on Rafale may be used to destabilise nation: AG to SC

The Attorney General observed that anything falling from the court in the matter will be used to "destablise" the nation. He submitted that the CAG report had also been placed in Parliament.

'If there is a question of corruption, can anyone take shelter under argument of national security'

Coming down heavily on the Centre, Justice K M Joseph asked "if there is a question of corruption, can anyone take shelter under the argument of national security." Justice Joseph's rejoinder came after the Centre contended that "we need Rafale jet to defend our country from F-16 fighter planes that recently bombed us. Without Rafale how can we resist them."

Further, CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul quizzed the Attorney General and wondered whether it can be contended that the stolen material cannot be relied at all.

Without Rafale how can we resist Pakistan, AG tells SC

Citing the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, Attorney General K K Venugopal underscored the importance of having Rafale jets in the air force. "We need Rafale jet to defend our country from F-16 fighter planes that recently bombed us. Without Rafale how can we resist them," the AG told SC. "Rafale fighter jets are needed although MIG 21 of 1960s performed beautifully against F16," he added. PTI

Stolen evidence 'can be looked into' by the Court, says Justice K M Joseph

Justice K M Joseph says that the question of national security will not arise when the issue before Court is whether an investigation should be ordered. Justice Joseph added that even stolen evidence can be looked into by the Court. It is well settled under the Evidence Act. If an act of corruption is committed, the government cannot take shelter under the Official Secrets Act.

The Attorney General, however, disagrees with Justice Joseph and says that source is important. He asks, "How did the petitioners get privileged documents of defence ministry?" Venugopal said that the review petition should be dismissed on the ground of violation of the Official Secrets Act.

Petitioners relying on stolen documents; it is a breach of Official Secrets Act: A-G K K Venugopal tells SC

Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the documents relied upon by Prashant Bhushan were stolen from the Defence Ministry and an investigation into the matter was underway. The AG also submitted that the documents were marked secret and classified, and therefore, are in violation of the Official Secrets Act. He sought dismissal of the review petitions and perjury application as they relied on stolen documents and said that today news report on Rafale amounts to influencing hearing in the apex court and is itself a contempt of court.

SC says won't hear review plea by AAP leader Sanjay Singh

The Supreme Court said it will not hear review petition filed by AAP leader Sanjay Singh as he has made derogatory statements about apex court.

Hearing resumes

The Supreme Court resumes hearing on petitions seeking review of Rafale verdict 

PM Modi misused his office to benefit Dassault: Congress on Rafale

The Congress Wednesday launched a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale aircraft deal, alleging that he misused his office to "benefit" Dassault Aviation and that a case under the prevention of corruption law is made out against him.

The party's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters that the Indian Negotiating Team (INT) to finalise the purchase of the fighter aircraft was sidelined and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval finalised the negotiation at the behest of the prime minister's office.

Those sharing Rafale documents in public guilty of contempt of court: AG

Those who put documents on Rafale deal in public domain guilty under Official Secrets Act and contempt of court: Attorney General said in the Supreme Court. The AG said today's The Hindu report on Rafale also amounts to influencing hearing in the court and is itself in contempt of court. 

Appearing for the Centre, the AG has sought dismissal of Rafale review petition and perjury application as they relied on documents stolen from the Defence Ministry.

The CJI has asked the AG to tell after lunch what action has been taken on theft of documents on Rafale deal. The court will resume the hearing after lunch at 2 PM. 

Hearing to resume at 2 PM

The Supreme Court will resume hearing pleas seeking a review of its December 14 verdict on Rafale at 2 PM Wednesday. 

Critical facts on Rafale suppressed: Prashant Bhushan

Critical facts on Rafale suppressed when petition for lodging FIR and investigation filed, petitioner Prashant Bhushan said in his arguments.  The Supreme Court would not have dismissed plea for FIR and probe into Rafale deal had there not been suppression of facts, Bhushan told the top court. 

Rafale documents stolen from Defence Ministry, probe on: Attorney General

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the Supreme Court that certain documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry either by public servants and an investigation is pending. "We are dealing with defence purchases which involve security of the state. It is a very sensitive case," he said. 

Petitioner and lawyer Prashant Bhushan had relied on the notes by few members of negotiating team and published by The Hindu.

Review plea on Rafale verdict: Hearing begins

A three-judge bench comprising  Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph have commenced hearing petitions seeking review of the Supreme Court's December 14 verdict dismissing petitions seeking a court-monitored probe in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. 

The court said it won't look into any supplementary affidavits or other documents not filed before it.

Explained: What the CAG report says on Rafale deal

The CAG report has examined the €7.87-bn deal for 36 Rafale aircraft signed between India and France on September 23, 2016 to assess “if the objectives of Indo-French joint statement and the objectives set out for INT by DAC were achieved”.

The CAG report tabled in Parliament compares UPA deal for 126 Rafale aircraft with NDA deal for 36 jets. How was this worked out? What else does the CAG report cover or not cover? READ HERE

What all could have happened if we had Rafale: PM Modi amid tensions with Pak

Addressing a public meeting in Gujarat’s Jamnagar Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated that if the Indian Air Force had the Rafale fighter jets, the results of recent aerial engagement with Pakistan could have been different.

After Modi’s suggestion that the IAF could have done even better if they had the Rafael fighter jets, the opposition parties had charged that the PM was understating bravery and valour of the IAF by suggesting that lacked proper equipment.

Modi’s remarks come a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had claimed that the country would lose Rs 30,000 crore if the NDA government was to push through the new deal signed in 2015.

Explained: What is the Rafale controversy about?

The Opposition parties have alleged that the NDA government bought 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, built by Dassault Aviation of France, under a direct government-to-government agreement at a much higher price than the one that was being negotiated for 126 aircraft by the previous UPA government under an open tender.

The controversy sharpened after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declined to share the cost of the Rafale fighters.  READ MORE

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has alleged there was a “scam” in the deal which was “personally got done” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rafale: Supreme Court's December 14 verdict

Vindicating the government stand and taking the sting out of the Opposition Congress attack over alleged irregularities in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France, the Supreme Court in December last year, dismissed all four petitions seeking a court-monitored investigation, saying it found “no occasion to really doubt the process” of decision making, pricing and selection of offset partners.

The judges said “we do not find any substantial material on record to show that this is a case of commercial favouritism to any party by the Indian government, as the option to choose the IOP (Indian Offset Partner) does not rest with the Indian government”. READ MORE

Rafale deal LIVE updates: Supreme Court to hear review pleas today

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan with former union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha (File/ Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

The petitioners, Shourie, Sinha and Bhushan sought a review of the judgment, saying the court, in its December 14 order, had relied on “patently incorrect” claims made by the government in its note submitted in a sealed cover to the bench which heard the original petition. They claimed that more information had come to light subsequently and not considering them would result in grave miscarriage of justice and requested that it be heard in open court.

Sanjay Singh in his petition alleged contradictions in the statements of the government.

The petitioners have questioned Anil Ambani’s Reliance defence as the choice of the offset partner, despite having no experience in the airspace sector. On the price of the Rafale aircraft, Bhushan, who appeared on behalf of himself and Sinha and Shourie, said the government was hiding behind the secrecy clause of the agreement.

India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

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