The Editors Guild on Thursday condemned Attorney General KK Venugopal's statement at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, on how documents on the Rafale deal were acquired by The Hindu and on how the government was planning legal action against the paper.
After an intense round of arguments and counterarguments over allegations of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Attorney General had alleged that the documents based on which the newspaper had run successive reports were "stolen from the defence ministry".
The Supreme Court was hearing arguments related to the admissibility of this new evidence that came to fore in form of reports by The Hindu, to review its 14 February judgment giving a clean chit to the government on the deal.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners against the government in the case, accused the Centre of submitting false documents to the apex court when Venugopal made the statement.
He further said that the government is contemplating "launching legal action" against the paper and the Opposition under the Official Secrets Act.
Venugopal also told the court that the government intends to name the petitioners, including Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Bhushan in the FIR.
The attorney-general later clarified that the investigation and contemplated action would not be initiated against journalists or lawyers who used these documents.
"The Guild is perturbed over such threats. These will intimidate the media in general and curb its freedom to report and comment on the Rafale deal in particular," the statement, co-signed by the Guild's president Shekhar Gupta, general secretary AK Bhattacharya and treasurer Sheela Bhatt read.
It also stressed that any attempt being made to use the Official Secrets Act against the media is "reprehensible."
Updated Date: Mar 07, 2019 12:28:42 IST