Nirmala Sitharaman backs AG after he takes U-turn, says opposition allegations incorrect
New Delhi, Mar 09: 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".
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her tweet quoted Attorney General as saying that he had never said that that the Rafale documents were stolen. He had told the top court that the petitioners (Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan) in their application used "photocopies of the original" papers, deemed by the government.
1.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.— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) March 8, 2019
The Congress Spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala in his tweet late in the evening said, "Art of serving hundred lies to hide one truth. Yesterday in Supreme Court - Rafale files have been stolen. Today - photocopies of Rafale files have been stolen."
In the course of the hearing on March 6 when AG said that Rafale papers were stolen and that everytime on the day of hearing something appeared in the media, the court had asked what he had done after first write-up appeared in the media on February 8.
"What have you done? Papers were stolen; first article came on February 8. In between what had happened?" CJI had questioned AG on March 6 in the course of the hearing of the review plea, among others, by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan.