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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Navy captain to be sacked for affair, may have leaked secrets to lover

Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 02, 2014
First Published: 18:12 IST(2/2/2014) | Last Updated: 13:08 IST(3/2/2014)

The defence ministry is trying to determine if a philandering naval officer, who was manning a sensitive post, could have leaked secret documents to his lover, a senior official told HT.

While the navy last week found captain Manoj Rawat guilty of having an affair and recommended his dismissal, the defence ministry is not yet fully convinced it’s an open-and-shut case of marital infidelity.

Alarmed over the claims made by the woman in her complaint to the navy that the officer had shared sensitive documents with her, the ministry is going over Rawat’s case with a fine-toothed comb, the official said.

In her complaint to the naval headquarters last year, Rawat’s girlfriend had reportedly submitted evidence of their intimate relationship along with some documents purportedly given to her by the officer.

The navy immediately shunted the captain (equivalent to a colonel) out of the sensitive directorate of naval operations and ordered an inquiry against him.

“The documents passed on by the officer to his girlfriend appear to be research papers/ theses on naval strategy. We are examining the case minutely,” the official said.

Navy sources said the documents related to research work done by the officer for a course he was planning to attend and there was nothing “top-secret” about them. A senior naval officer refused comments.

There has been a flurry of sexual misconduct cases and wife-swapping allegations in the navy in recent years, incidents that have prompted defence minister AK Antony to take “sternest possible action”.

Two naval officers were dismissed last April – a commander (equivalent to a lieutenant colonel) for sending lewd texts to women and a lieutenant commander (equivalent to a major) for having an affair with a superior’s wife.

In 2011, Antony had sacked a commodore (equivalent to a brigadier) after photographs of his sexual encounters with a Russian woman surfaced. The punishment awarded to Rawat by the navy will have to be approved by Antony.

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