11:59 GMT08 March 2021
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    Attorney General Venugopal argued in court that documents on the Rafale deal relied upon by petitioners were marked 'secret' and 'classified', therefore they are in violation of the Official Secrets Act. He further informed that the documents had gone missing from the Defence Ministry a long time ago and that an investigation is pending.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): As India's highest court has begun hearing on a petition seeking to review its earlier verdict of alleged corruption in the Rafale jet procurement process, the case has taken a dramatic turn, with the government's lawyer alleging that the documents presented in court by the plaintiff had been "stolen" from the defence ministry.The high court was dealing with the proofs of irregularity in the deal, as cited by a leading newspaper, The Hindu.

    READ MORE: Rafale Deal Becoming Modi’s Nemesis as Opposition Steps Up Probe Demand

    The review petition pertains to the 14 December judgement over the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters from French manufacturer Dassault Aviation, in which the Supreme Court of India had given the Modi government a certificate of exoneration.

    The court is currently hearing a number of private citizen petitions on the issue. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners in the case, has alleged that the government lied in court about the Rafale deal and should face perjury charges.

    Last December, the Supreme Court of India had dismissed several petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of the Rafale jet fighters.

    The petitioners wanted a court-monitored probe into the procurement process, alleging that the government favoured Dassault Aviation over other contenders as the French firm was willing to accept an offset partner chosen by the Modi government.

    READ MORE: France Denies Buying Rafale Fighter Jets at a Price Cheaper Than India

    Indian opposition leaders have been alleging major corruption in the $8.7 billion deal for the purchase of 36 fighter jet for the Indian Air Force that was signed in 2016 in government-to-government negotiations.


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