Saturday, April 08, 2006

Navy war room case... some Goa links

This issue has figured prominently in the national media. Is there sufficient follow-up on the Goa angles? Reporting on the Navy has tended to be a huge black home for the most... with by-invite-only coverage obviously not doing justice to the issues on hand.

Niraj Naik's DigitalGoa service said 6-Apr-2006 16:49:46: "CBI raided plant in Verna over Navy war room leak case."

Later, a report in the ET named the plant concerned. Below are some reports that show up the Goa link, and name officers whom some of us might have encountered in news conferences:

Navy war room leak case links

In particular, see Navy war-room leak: CBI raids 17 places. It says:

NEW DELHI: Almost a year after the war-room leak rocked the Navy like never before, and led to the sacking of four officers, the wheels of justice finally seem to be turning now after a long delay....

The CBI case, registered under the Official Secrets Act and section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, names nine persons for "conspiring to trade off classified documents and information relating to the defence ministry, the disclosure of which is likely to affect the country's sovereignty and integrity".

CBI, in particular, is eager to arrest Ravi Shankaran, the alleged "brain" behind the episode, who also happens to be the nephew of Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash.

Shankaran and Parashar, former naval officers who took premature retirement to set up their own business, were the ones who allegedly enticed Rana, Jha and the then director of naval operations Captain Kashyap Kumar to "leak" classified information from the Navy war-room in South Block for monetary and other gains.

The leaked information, primarily of commercial nature, was apparently meant for international armament companies eager to bag lucrative Indian defence contracts.....

The government had handed over the war-room leak case to CBI belatedly in February only after allegations surfaced that middlemen were involved in the Rs 18,798-crore Scorpene submarine project and that the "recipients" in the war-room leak episode were also linked to French firms involved in the submarine project.

With UPA coming under fire from NDA, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee denied any wrongdoing in the Scorpene deal, saying it was completely above board. He has stressed that the "leaked information" from the war-room did not pertain to the submarine project.

* * * * * CBI raids premises of Naval chief's kinAdd to Clippings

Sources said that the CBI had filed the FIR over 15 days ago but had been waiting for Parashar to return before starting arrests and conducting raids. Raids were conducted in 17 locations in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Muzzafarpur, Chandigarh and Goa.

Another key accused in the case Lt Commander (Retd) Ravishankaran, the nephew of Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash, is still in London and the CBI is waiting for his return from London before proceeding against him, He is also named in the CBI FIR.

The factory premises of Shanks Oceaneering belonging to Ravishankaran in Mumbai and Goa were also raided. The CBI also raided the house of Manish Vohra, the chartered accountant for Parashar and Ravi Shankaran....

The entire leak was discovered due to an illicit relationship between Jaiswal and Indian Air Force ex-wing commander Sambhajee L Surve, who is also named in the FIR. Surve's wife had complained to the Air Force.

During that investigation, the Air Force counter surveillance team stumbled on to a pen drive in Surve's possession that led them to the entire war room deal. The Navy and the Air Force both conducted inquiries and three naval officers were thrown out of the Navy. The CBI was given the findings of both the inquiries....

The war room leak case has led to speculation that the Scorpene deal is also linked somehow to the case. CBI spokesperson Mohanty said that all aspects of the case are being investigated....