Thursday, April 11, 2019

Indian top court says ‘leaked’ Rafale documents admissible

The Supreme Court of India Wednesday dismissed the Narendra Modi-led government’s preliminary objections to review of an earlier judgment that had exonerated the government in the Rafale fighter jet deal, Asian News International reported.

In a move seen as detrimental to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of general elections starting on April 11, the top court also allowed the admission of three ‘leaked’ documents in the Rafale case. They will be used as evidence in re-examining the review petitions filed against the Supreme Court’s December 14 judgment, which refused to order a probe of the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. The petition was filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.

The Rafale deal has become a major controversy with the opposition alleging corruption on the part of the current government.

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s judgment, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi told the media, “The Prime minister has been claiming that the Supreme Court had given him a clean chit on the Rafale deal. The Supreme Court has clarified and has begun an investigation into the Rafale deal.”

Earlier, the BJP-led government had told the Court that the plea for review of the Rafale verdict was not maintainable as it was based on documents that were protected under the British-era Official Secrets Act of 1923. It claimed that the documents were unauthorized photocopies of the originals kept in the Ministry of Defense and leaked into the public domain by the media.
11/04/19 Asia Times