Scorpene submarine leak scandal; Australian paper restricted from publishing new data till next Supreme Court hearing


New Delhi: English daily The Australian cannot publish any more leaked information about India's Scorpene submarines till the Supreme Court hears the matter on Thursday, an Australian court has ruled. The court granted a temporary injunction to French shipbuilder DCNS, which makes the submarines for India, after the company had filed a petition against the paper. 

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DCNS, which is at the centre of a global submarine data leak scandal, wanted to prevent the Australian publication, ‘The Australian’ from releasing any more confidential data contained in 22,400 secret documents because it may cause harm to its customer — the Indian Navy. 

Meanwhile after issuing ordered 'The Australian'to remove documents from its website, from which the newspaper had already redacted security-sensitive material, and to give French defence firm DCNS all of the company material in its possession by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to media reports.

The court's order came following an affidavit filed by DCNS which sought a ban on the publication of the sensitive documents by 'The Australian'. The court's order preventing the newspaper from using the leaked material expires at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The case will again be listed for hearing on Thursday in the Supreme Court. In its affidavit, DCNS said the disclosure of the material had caused a prejudice against it because its competitors now have access to some of the company's material, according to media reports.

The massive media coverage of the leak had jeopardised the company's international image and reputation, the affidavit was quoted as saying. "The sensitive and protected nature of the documents also covers the nature, structure and the mere existence of the documents themselves," it said.

A day after the court's ruling, The Australian's Associate Editor Cameron Stewart said, "there are very large documents but we are certainly not publishing more documents". Asked if the paper intends to bring up any of the documents when the injunction ends, he told an Indian TV channel that, "No, we don't. I'm not involved in the court process. I can't comment very much and there are no plans to post any more items."

Over 22,000 pages of top secret data on the capabilities of six highly advanced submarines being built for the Indian Navy in Mumbai in collaboration with the French company, have been leaked. The French public prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation into the data leak, with DCNS filing a complaint of breach of trust.

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