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SC can’t use ‘leaked’ papers, says Centre

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New Delhi: On the eve of a crucial hearing on the Rafale jet deal, the Centre urged the Supreme Court not to rely on the photocopy of the documents attached in the review petitions as these are “sensitive to national security” and those who conspired in photocopying the secret papers have committed theft and put the security in jeopardy by leaking them.

Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra, in a brief affidavit filed , said “Those who have conspired in this leakage are guilty of penal offences including theft by unauthorised photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting national security.”

The unauthorised photocopying of such documents has adversely affected the sovereignty, security and friendly relations with foreign countries, the Centre said, urging the Supreme Court that these documents be removed and review petitions dismissed.

 

“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. The selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners are intended to mislead this court into deriving wrong conclusions, which is very damaging to national security and public interest,” said the affidavit.

The Centre said that since the review petitions against the judgment dated December 14, 2018 (giving clean chit to the Rafael deal) had been widely circulated and are available in public domain, the same are available to the enemy/our adversaries and “this puts national security in jeopardy”.

The ministry said an internal inquiry, launched on February 28, is in progress over the leakage of sensitive documents and it is of “utmost concern” to find out where the leakage took place.

The affidavit filed by the ministry said documents attached by the petitioners —- former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie — as also activist advocate Prashant Bhushan relate to war capacity of combat aircraft.

The ministry said secrecy was envisaged in various agreements that the Centre had entered into with France and others concerning matters of national security. Last week the attorney general K.K. Venugopal asserted that the documents attached by advocate Prashant Bhushan which were published by a newspaper were stolen materials and should not be taken on record.

Later, the A-G clarified that documents were not stolen but only photocopied and leaked. The Centre’s present affidavit maintained that the documents were photocopied and removed.

The Centre said, “It is of utmost concern to the Central government to find out where the leakage took place so that in future the sanctity of decision-making process in governance is maintained. The petitioners are using unauthorisedly accessed documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to national security and defence.”

In this context, the performance audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Capital Acquisition in Indian Air Force is already presented to the Parliament, the ministry said.

These documents belong to a class, which the government is entitled to claim privilege under Section 123, 124 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, (which says no one shall be permitted to give any evidence derived from unpublished official records relating to any affairs of the state).

Therefore, the petitioners have no authority whatsoever to produce the same before this court without the explicit permission of the government, the affidavit said.


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National

SC dismisses plea seeking ban on roadshows, bike rallies during polls

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by a former DGP of Uttar Pradesh seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to ban roadshows and bike rallies during polls.

“We are not inclined to entertain this,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepka Gupta told advocate Virag Gupta, who was appearing for petitioners Vikram Singh and Shaivika Agrawal.

Singh, a former Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, said in his petition that the roadshows and bike rallies violate EC’s instructions and cause damage to the environment.

 
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Will give PM Modi whistle, cap if he wants to be ‘chowkidar’: Owaisi

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Hyderabad: Akbaruddin Owaisi, the leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for adding ‘chowkidar’ as a prefix in his name on twitter and said that he would provide him with a whistle and a cap if the Prime Minister is interested in such a job.

Speaking at a rally here on Sunday, Owaisi said, “I have seen on Twitter where the names have become as ‘Chowkidar Narendra Modi’, ‘Chowkidar Amit Shah’. Why only one twitter? He should also mention ‘Chowkidar’ in his Aadhaar card, voter-id and passport.”

“We want a PM not a ‘Chaiwala’, ‘Pakodewala’…I am surprised at those who vote for Modi, what kind of person they vote for? If Modi is so interested in being a ‘Chowkidar’, he should come to me, I will offer him a Chowkidar’s cap and a whistle,” he said.

 

Akbaruddin had won from the Chandrayangutta Assembly seat in the last year’s assembly polls in Telangana.

In December 2018, Owaisi was elected as floor leader of AIMIM in the Telangana Legislative Assembly.

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Delhi HC seeks ED’s reply on Vadra’s plea seeking quashing of PMLA case

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New Delhi: Division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vinod Goel of Delhi High Court on Monday refused to grant interim relief to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra and Manoj Arora on their plea for quashing of FIR/ECIR by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

The Delhi HC said that it does not want to interfere since the anticipatory bail plea is being heard in the Patiala House Court.

Although, the Delhi HC Court has sought response of ED on their plea that challenges the Constitutional validity of certain sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It has also directed the ED to supply a copy of ECIR to Robert Vadra and Manoj Arora.

 

The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for May 2.

Robert Vadra had moved Delhi High Court seeking quashing of FIR against him filed by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

The Directorate has questioned Vadra multiple times in connection with the case which pertains London-based properties bought between the years 2005 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the ED filed a reply in the lower court alleging that Robert Vadra is the beneficial owner of various properties under investigation in the case which has been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

The Enforcement Directorate, in its application, had said that investigation is still ongoing and is at a crucial stage. In its reply, it had also sought a ‘free’ hand to a thorough interrogation.

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