CBI files indictment against Navy Commander and 6 others for leaking classified information

The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed two indictments against seven defendants, including a serving naval commander and two retired Indian Navy officers, for allegedly leaking classified details regarding a submarine modernization kilo class to unauthorized persons.

According to sources, acting Navy Commander Ajit Kumar Pandey as well as two retired commanders SJ Singh and R Singh were named as accused in the first indictment. A Hyderabad-based company Allen Reinforced Plastic Private Limited, its executive director and directors NV Rao and K Chandrasekhar were also involved in this case.

In the second indictment, former commanders SJ Singh and R Singh were named as the accused. According to the sources, two invoices were filed as information relating to two projects was leaked.

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India Today has learned that a senior Indian Navy officer was interviewed by CBI along with a defense dealer in the case.

Previously, the CBI reportedly recovered Rs 2.40 crore in cash from the residence of former naval officer R Singh during searches. In September, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested a serving commander of the Indian Navy, two former Navy officials and two private individuals in connection with the case.

The seven people were convicted under articles of India’s penal code and the Prevention of Corruption Act for criminal conspiracy, CBI officials said.

WHAT IS THE CASE?

According to details of Operation CBI seen by India Today, a commanding rank officer on duty in the Navy was leaking information to two retired officers in exchange for monetary gain. The naval officer was working on a sensitive submarine modernization project.

According to sources, the officer on duty was stationed in Mumbai and was arrested from there. However, the information leaks occurred in Delhi.

THE INVESTIGATION TO DATE

After receiving information from intelligence agencies, the CBI launched its investigation into the case.

The CBI’s anti-corruption unit, which deals with sensitive and high-profile corruption cases, has been tasked with the Navy case. The unit has so far interviewed a defense dealer besides several Navy officers and retired military personnel who were in contact with the defendants, the CBI said. The role of some foreign nationals is also under the scanner, according to sources.

The CBI had also carried out searches of 19 locations in Delhi, Noida and Hyderabad in connection with the case. The agency recovered several electronic gadgets and other incriminating items during the searches.

The CBI uses forensic analysis of the digital products used by the accused to understand whether the confidential information has reached individuals with special interests.

NAVY INTERNAL INVESTIGATION

In a statement, the Navy said: “An investigation into an alleged information leak of an administrative and commercial nature with unauthorized personnel has been exposed and is being investigated by the appropriate government agency.”

The Navy offered its full support to the ongoing CBI investigation, the statement added. Meanwhile, an internal Navy investigation under the direction of a Vice Admiral has been launched to find out if other such leaks have taken place and how they can be sealed.

(With PTI entries)

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