Attorney General K K Venugopal on Friday said documents related to the purchase of Rafale fighter jets were not stolen from the Defence Ministry and what he meant before the Supreme Court was that petitioners in the application used "photocopies of the original" papers, deemed secret by the government.
His comments in the apex court on Wednesday that Rafale fighter jet deal documents were stolen caused a political row, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi targeting the government over stealing of such sensitive papers and seeking a criminal investigation.
"I am told that the opposition has alleged what was argued (in the Supreme Court) 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, the government’s top legal officer, told PTI.
Venugopal said the application filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushant, seeking from the court a review of its verdict dismissing pleas for a probe into against the Rafale deal, had annexed three documents which were photocopies of the original.
Official sources said the Venugopal 's use of the word "stolen" was probably "stronger" and could have been avoided.
"We did not steal the documents from the Ministry of Defence, we got them from confidential sources and no force on earth can make me or us reveal the source of the documents, because we have given our word," Ram had said.