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Rafale: AG, Defence Minister deny theft of documents, Congress takes a dig

Taking to Twitter, Sitharaman said Venugopal in his submission in the Supreme Court meant that the documents cited by the petitioner were “secret” and not be put out in public domain. She said the attorney general clarified his statement in an interview with media.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 9 March 2019 6:44 AM GMT

Rafale: AG, Defence Minister deny theft of documents, Congress takes a dig
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New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Attorney General KK Venugopal's statements changed overnight after alleging that the “secret” documents pertaining to Rafale deal were stolen by a English daily newspaper in the Supreme Court.

Taking to Twitter, Sitharaman said Venugopal in his submission in the Supreme Court meant that the documents cited by the petitioner were “secret” and not be put out in public domain. She said the attorney general clarified his statement in an interview with media.

“Learned AG KK Venugopal told @PTI_News the Rafale documents were not stolen from the Defence Ministry & what he meant in his submission before the Supreme Court was that petitioners in the application used “photocopies of the original” papers, deemed secret by the government,” Sitharaman tweeted.

The documents were cited by lawyer Prashant Bhushan while arguing for review of the apex court judgment rejecting plea for independent probe in Rafale deal.

The change of stand by the government on “stolen” documents drew a swipe from Congress leader P Chidambaram. In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said the “thief” may have returned them.

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

Venugopal on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that “documents relied on by the petitioners in their review petitions were stolen from the ministry and should not be relied on”.

His submission in the Supreme Court caused a political row with Congress president Rahul Gandhi targeting the government. Gandhi sought a criminal investigation in the matter demanding a probe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Venugopal also told media, “I am told that the opposition has alleged what was argued (in SC) was that files had been stolen from the Defence Ministry. This is wholly incorrect. The statement that files have been stolen is wholly incorrect.”

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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