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No one is questioning quality of Rafale Jets: The Hindu chief N Ram

However, questions have to be raised on the decision making involved as well as the terms of the deal, he says

Thursday March 7, 2019 0:33 AM, ummid.com & Agencies

N Ram The Hindu Chairman

[However, questions have to be raised on the decision making involved as well as the terms of the deal, he says. (Photo: Twitter/@nramind)]

New Delhi: N Ram, renowned journalist, editor and chairman of The Hindu, on Wednesday said asking questions about the decision making involved and the terms of the deal did not mean that questions are being raised over the quality of Rafale fighter jets.

"No one is questioning the quality of the jets or the need to buy them. However, questions have to be raised on the decision making involved as well as the terms of the deal", N Ram said while talking to India Today TV.

"Is the new deal better than the old deal, whether there was any dissent or undermining on India's negotiating position," N Ram asked, while adding that Rafale deal came to light due to investigative journalism.

N Ram's statement came soon after Union Government submitted in the Supreme Court of India that "crucial documents relating to Rafale deal" have been stolen.

Modi government's submission in the court came after The Hindu published a series of articles highlighting irregularities in the Rafale fighter jet deal. Copies of the document reportedly were also attached by the petitioners seeking review of the SC verdict pronounced on December 14.

"We are investigating how these documents were stolen," the center said when Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi questioned what action the government had taken.

The centre also accused The Hindu newspaper of relying on these classified documents.

"It is a criminal offence. We are objecting preliminary because secret documents can't be annexed with the petition. Review and perjury petitions must be dismissed," said the Attorney General.

"Those who put documents on the Rafale deal in the public domain are guilty under the Official Secrets Act and contempt of court", the AG said.

N Ram however said The Hindu published the articles in public interest and also vowed to protect the identity of its "sources".

"Government withheld information from the public. We just published it in public interest," he said.

"You may call it stolen documents. We are not concerned. We got it from confidential sources and we are committed to protecting these sources. Nobody is going to get any information from us on these sources. But the documents speak for themselves and the stories speak for themselves," N Ram is quoted as saying by the news agency PTI.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said there is enough evidence to prosecute PM Modi in, what he called, "Rafale Scam".

"There is now enough evidence to prosecute the PM in the #RafaleScam", Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

"The trail of corruption begins & ends with him", he added.

"That crucial Rafale files incriminating him are now reported “stolen” by the Govt, is destruction of evidence & an obvious coverup", he said.

The Modi government on the other hand defended the deal saying the country needed the Rafale fighters to counter Pakistan's F-16.

"We need Rafale jets to defend our country from F-16 fighter planes that recently bombed us. Without Rafale how can we resist them," the government's lawyer, AG Venugopal argued in the Supreme Court.

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