Internal probe ordered on disclosure of classified info in Rafale deal, says Defence Ministry in RTI reply

Mumbai: An internal inquiry has been ordered on disclosure of classified information in the Rafale deal, the Defence Ministry has said in an RTI query.

City-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali had filed an RTI seeking information from the Defence Ministry about the “stolen” Rafale files and action taken by the ministry in this regard. Galgali had also sought to know whether the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were aware about the stolen files and if yes, then whether a police complaint had been filed.

Replying to his query, Sushil Kumar, the deputy secretary (Air Acquisition) and CPIO Air Acquisition (Capital) Wing, stated that the ministry has ordered an internal inquiry. In his reply dated May 7, Kumar said, “The Ministry of Defense (Security Office) has ordered an internal inquiry on disclosure of classified official information into public domain and violation of manual of security instructions.”

Reacting to the reply, Galgali said, “It possible that the matter is sub judice and therefore, the government may not have provided full information. But, it is high time that the government must come forward to clean the air to assure the citizens about the deal.”

Notably, Attorney General KK Venugopal in March had told PTI that the documents related to the Rafale fighter jet deal were not stolen from the Ministry of Defence and that petitioners seeking a review of the courts earlier verdict were using “photocopies of the original” papers.

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