'Sabotage angle being probed in submarine blast' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Sabotage angle being probed in submarine blast'

Defence minister AK Antony said the sabotage angle is also under the probe into the reasons behind explosions on INS Sindhurakshak, and admitted that the incident has cast a shadow on the force's capability to safeguard the country.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2013 03:18 IST
HT Correspondent

Defence minister AK Antony said sabotage angle is also under the probe into the reasons behind explosions on Indian Navy's destroyed submarine INS Sindhurakshak, and admitted that the incident has cast a shadow on the force's capability to safeguard the country's maritime interests.

Giving clarifications in Rajya Sabha on the August 14 submarine accident, Antony said the navy has also ordered a study to assess the status of weapons on board the submarine in view of fear of any further explosion during salvage operations.

"The navy has ordered a Board of Inquiry (BoI). Nothing is ruled out," Antony said. Several members, including Tarun Vijay of BJP and Naresh Agrawal of SP, sought to know if sabotage was one of the reasons behind the accident.

The defence minister said at the moment, "We cannot say conclusively about the exact cause of the incident. Our armed forces work on war footing on these aspects and they are also anxious on this issue."

The minister said of the 18 personnel on board Sindhurakshak, eight bodies had been found till Wednesday and they have been sent to the Naval hospital for postmortem. He said five international and Indian companies are involved in surveying the vessel and after it is dewatered and brought up, a team of Russian experts will also investigate.

"The rescue team has been asked to carry out a detailed study to assess the state of explosives on board and quantify the risk associated with salvage operations because there are fears about further explosions," Antony said.

He said the water sample from the torpedo compartment of the submarine has been analysed in a Pune laboratory and "immediate analysis does not indicate any presence of TNT in the water samples and the partially burnt yellow material."

Families to get 'special' compensation
Indicating that all 18 crew members in the submarine have died, Antony on Thursday said treating it as a "special case", compensation would be given to their families.