'Docs selectively used to present incomplete picture'

Rafale verdict

The Defence Ministry on Wednesday said that the confidential documents on the Rafale deal were “selectively” used to present an “incomplete picture on the internal and secret deliberations” that took place within the ministry on the purchase of 36 French fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

The response from a Defence Ministry spokesperson came within hours of the Supreme Court rejecting the Centre's contention that the leaked documents should not be considered while deciding on a review petition on the top court's December 14 judgement on the Rs 59,000 crore deal.

The review petition was filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie – both former ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government – and lawyer Prashant Bhusan.

The trio appealed to the apex court to have a relook at its ruling in the backdrop of a series of reports published in 'The Hindu' on the basis of the leaked documents.

“The petitioners are using documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to National Security and Defence. The documents presented by the petitioners are failing to bring out how the issues were addressed and resolved and necessary approvals of the competent authorities taken. These are a selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners,” the spokesperson said in a press statement.

The Government, the spokesperson said, had provided the requisite information as desired by the Supreme Court and also to the petitioners as per directions of the SC.

“The Government also provided all records and files as required by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The main concern of the Government is related to the availability of sensitive and classified information concerning national security in the public domain,” he said.

The Defence Ministry in the past had denied each of the reports published in The Hindu with the observation that the daily had deliberately suppressed certain facts to mislead its readers.

The last such denial came on Tuesday night in which the Defence Ministry accused the daily of “bringing out selective issues in a piecemeal manner to sensationalise the Rafale aircraft procurement and mislead the people,” in yet another report.

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