The CBI has arrested a serving naval officer and two retired ones, along with two “private persons”, for leaking confidential information related to the modernization of the Kilo-class conventional submarines.
An internal inquiry shall also be conducted by the Indian Navy which will be headed by the Vice Admiral and will also suggest measures to prevent such incidents in future.
As per reports, some more arrests in the case could take place as it is unclear if any foreign intelligence agencies are involved in the information leak.
CBI had arrested the serving officer of the rank of a Commander in the previous month from the Western Naval Command in Mumbai. Among the four other accused, one retired as a Commodore and another as a Commander. All five are now in judicial custody.
According to a source, information related to the modernization refit of the Russian-origin Kilo or Sindhughosh-class submarines were provided by the serving officer to the other accused who is said to work for some defence companies.
Some computers and other evidence have been seized by the CBI during searches conducted by them in 19 places including Noida, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. A number of serving officers have also been questioned by the investigative agency who were in touch with the accused.
Modernizations of Sindhughosh-class
Four of the eight old Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarines have gone in for modernization by the Indian Navy with each costing around ₹1,400 crores, in Russia as well as India.
Back in 2005, leading to the arrest and dismissal of three Navy and IAF officers, the Navy, incidentally, had been badly hit by the infamous war room leak case in its headquarters in New Delhi.
7,000 pages of classified information were “compromised” from the naval war-room and the air defence directorate in Air Headquarters in the episode, as said by the CBI.
The armed forces have also been dogged by several cases of personnel being caught in online honey traps in recent years. A major case was the arrest of a Group Captain posted as Joint Director (operations) in the Air Headquarters in New Delhi, in February 2018.