I suppose thief returned documents: Chidambaram’s swipe at Modi government after AG says Rafale papers photocopied, not stolen

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The Congress party on Saturday took a swipe at Modi government after Attorney General KK Venugopals fresh remark on stolen Rafale documents. Senior party leader and former Union minister P Chidambram said that thief may have returned the documents as the stolen papers have now become photocopied. Chidambaram said this while referring to Venugopals Friday remark that Rafale documents were not stolen from the Ministry of Defence. The AG clarified that in Supreme Court on Wednesday he meant that petitioners seeking review of Rafale verdict used photocopies of the original papers, deemed secret by the government. I am told that the opposition has alleged what was argued (in SC) was that files had been stolen from the Defence Ministry. This is wholly incorrect. The statement that files have been stolen is wholly incorrect, Venugopal told PTI on Friday, in an apparent damage-control exercise. On Wednesday, it was stolen documents. On Friday, it was photocopied documents. I suppose the thief returned the documents in between on Thursday, Chidambaram said in a series of tweets. On Wednesday, the Official Secrets Act was shown to the newspaper. On Friday, the Olive Branches Act was shown. We salute common sense, he added. On Wednesday, Venugopal had told the Supreme Court that Rafale deal documents were stolen from MoD. He also sought dismissal of a petition for a review of the courts December last year verdict on the ground that the fresh plea relied on documents stolen from the Ministry. The top lawyer also told the court that investigations were underway to find out if it was a violation of the Official Secrets Act. The AGs Wednesday submission triggered a massive political row with Congress president Rahul Gandhi seeking a investigation against those involved in the crime including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reacting to Venugopals Friday remarks, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the government whose AG does not know the difference between theft and photocopies, is claiming that the country is in safe hands.

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