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Day after SC verdict on Rafale deal, Congress demands Prasad, Sitharaman's resignation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The on Thursday demanded the resignation of Sitharaman and Ravi Shankar Prasad, accusing them of suppressing facts about the jet deal before the and for calling the documents "stolen".

The demand came a day after the apex court agreed to hear review petitions on the deal on the basis of secret documents leaked to the media.

The court also dismissed the government's preliminary objection to treat the sensitive documents as evidence by claiming privilege over them.

"The order of the in the Review Petition case is a huge rebuff to the central government which raised the specious plea of 'stolen documents'. We demand the resignation of the Defence and Law ministers who authorised the plea of 'stolen documents'," senior P Chidambaram tweeted.

Congress said the two Union ministers "have tried to suppress these documents by calling them stolen and so instructing the to argue before the court."

"Does not their act amount to deceit," Singhvi asked.

"I think the resignation of people who called them stolen and repeatedly asserted they were stolen should be called for and should be in order," he told reporters.

He, however, said he has no doubt that they do not intend to resign and neither the intends to ask for their resignation.

On Wednesday, Prasad dismissed suggestions that the apex court verdict was a setback to the Centre, saying the merit of the case was yet to be decided.

The Centre had submitted that the three privilege documents which were unauthorisedly removed from the were used by the petitioners to support their review petitions.

Singhvi, however, said the court has held that the said documents are not fabricated.

"Is it not an act of deceit to say this to the and seek to suppress them by recharacterising them as stolen," he asked.

"In a nutshell, this is a jumla sarkar, a feku sarkar. This is a sarkar of deceit, treachery, and of trying to fool all the people all the time, including our institutions like the Supreme Court," he alleged.

He claimed the "56-inch" government received a "56-page shock" on the from the apex court, referring to the 58-page court judgment on Wednesday.

Singhvi alleged that from day one, government "lied" in the Supreme Court.

"...It is crystal clear that set procedures have not been followed in the Rafale deal and crony capitalism' has become the backbone of this scam. Therefore, A JPC investigation is the only to ascertain the real culprits," the Congress said.

"In the affidavit before the Supreme Court, Modiji said that negotiations on Rafale deal were held by the Indian Negotiations Team. file notings now show otherwise. Parallel negotiations were actually held by PM himself. This fact was deliberately withheld from the Supreme Court," Singhvi said.

The government has dismissed the allegations of any wrongdoing in the deal with for 36 Rafale fighter jets.

On March 7, Singhvi said, the government's told the Supreme Court that "secret" documents published by a newspaper and a few magazines on the deal were "stolen" from the Defence Ministry, but the very next day they claimed these "published" documents were only "photocopies".

"After yesterday's Supreme Court judgement, both these assertions are conclusively punctured. There are 3 sets of documents, which the wanted to hide from the Supreme Court," he claimed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 22:15 IST