Modi govt under fire after important documents of Rafale deal ‘stolen’

NEW DELHI (Web Desk): Coping with barbs being hurled at the BJP-led Indian government after Pakistan shot down its intruding jets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced another setback when the Supreme Court of India was told that documents on the Rafale deal were stolen.

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.

A number of petitions have been filed in the apex court regarding 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.

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.

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.

The petitioners have asked for a review after the Supreme Court said in December that there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process amid Congress allegations of corruption in the 2016 jet deal. The top court dismissed petitions alleging that the government had gone for an overpriced deal to help Anil Ambani’s company bag an offset contract with jet-maker Dassault.